By Patrick Raleigh, UT On-line/news editorMidland, Michigan-Dow Chemical Co. is increasing the nameplate capacity of its Stade, Germany, propylene oxide plant by 7 percent to 590 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa).The expansion brings Dow’s global PO capability to 1860 ktpa. The firm also produces PO in Freeport ,Texas (estimated at around 700 ktpa); Plaquemine, Louisiana ( around 350 ktpa); and in Aratu, Brazil (around 220 ktpa).The capacity increase confirms Dow’s commitment to propylene oxide and polyether polyols and other PO derivatives, according to Earl Shipp, who was recently appointed as business director, Dow PO/PG. The project shows “Dow’s ability to provide for the needs of its customers in the most cost-effective manner possible, especially in light of rising and volatile energy prices,” Shipp further claimed in a 9 June press announcement. The Stade expansion also highlights Dow’s confidence in chlorohydrin production route to PO, according to Martine Schoenmaker, Chlorohydrin Technology Center leader. Dow employs the technology at both Freeport and Stade, she indicated.Dow is continually improving its process technology as it seeks to raise its PO capacity at minimum capital investment, continued Schoenmaker. “In the past 10 years, Dow has added the equivalent of 2.5 world-scale PO plants for less than the 25 percent of the capital required for new construction,” she claimed.”
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