By Liz White, UT staffAntwerp, Belgium–BASF Aktiengesellschaft and Dow Chemical Co. announced 24 Oct that they are to build a plant at Antwerp to use their novel propylene oxide (PO) production technology, based on hydrogen peroxide (HP)-called HPPO Technology. Design of a plant at BASF’s site in Antwerp is nearly complete, with construction starting in early 2006 and the plant coming on stream in 2008. The partners said the plant, with 300 kilotonnes per annum initial capacity, will serve the growing demand for PO derivatives, in particular in the polyurethane industry.”BASF needs a long-term secured supply of PO for our polyetherol and PO derivative business based on competitive conditions,” said Jean-Pierre Dhanis, president of the Polyurethanes division, in a BASF statement.The HPPO plant at Antwerp is “only as a starting point,” said the partners. Additional HPPO plants planned include a BASF HPPO plant at its Geismar, Louisiana, site by 2009. Meanwhile in Asia, the partners have identified various opportunities for joint or individual efforts and said the feasibility of Asian locations for an HPPO plant is being studied.Another HPPO plant in the US brings BASF much closer to its goal for PO and derivatives, Dhanis commented, adding, “we can further optimise the Geismar Verbund site, which is our major production site for PO-based polyetherols and isocyanates for our polyurethanes business. At the same time we are evaluating potential sites for a first HPPO plant in Asia, preferably to be built in our partnership with Dow.”The advantage of HPPO technology is that it makes only PO and water, with no co-products. The plants have a smaller footprint, need less infrastructure and require a significantly lower investment compared with conventional PO production processes,” the firms said.Supply of hydrogen peroxide at Antwerp will be safeguarded by a joint venture with Solvay. A planned single-train HP plant with 230 ktpa initial capacity will use Solvay’s proprietary high productivity” technology. “
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