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Bayer increases MDI capacity in Europe, US

By Liz White, UT contributing editor

Leverkusen, Germany-Bayer AG’s new MaterialScience grouping is increasing capacity for the polyurethane raw material MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) at two sites, in Tarragona, Spain, and Baytown, US.

The expansions also require an increase in Bayer’s production of aniline-a raw material for making MDI-at its plant in Antwerp, Belgium.

In Baytown Bayer will raise to MDI capacity to 300 kilotonnes per annum from the present 230 ktpa, while at Tarragona an increase to 150 ktpa from 100 ktpa is scheduled, by 2006.

Bayer says this expansion “underscores our leading role as a polyurethane raw materials manufacturer.”

The company will have global MDI capacity of about 920 ktpa when these expansions are complete in 2006.

Bayer currently produces MDI at seven sites throughout the world, and recently announced plans to add MDI capacity at an eighth plant, in Caojing, China, in two stages. Construction will begin soon of a facility at the Chinese site for making polymeric and monomeric MDI from crude MDI, which should be completed by 2006. Production of MDI is scheduled to start in 2008 with annual capacity of 230 kt.

“We expect the MDI market to grow at around 6 percent a year – twice the rate of the global GDP,” said Peter Vanacker, designated head of the Polyurethanes Business Unit of Bayer MaterialScience.“

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