These include the construction of a new hydrogen chloride recycling plant as well as the expansion of plants for nitric acid, chlorine and synthesis gas. It is also planned to expand the aromatics complex at the site for the supply of toluene. Total investment including the required infrastructure at Ludwigshafen site will be about €1 billion and create around 200 additional jobs. Production will start at the end of 2014. BASF plans to close down its 80,000 metric tons per year TDI production plant in Schwarzheide, Germany, when the new plant goes on stream. TDI is a key component mainly used for flexible polyurethane foams.
“This project will position us as the low-cost TDI producer in Europe due to economies of scale and the highly efficient integration into our Verbund,” said Wayne T. Smith, President of BASF’s Polyurethanes division. “Building our new TDI plant at our largest Verbund site in Ludwigshafen gives us the advantage of the excellent production synergies, raw material integration and logistics. Together with our existing TDI sites in Asia and North America we will be able to optimally serve customers in all major markets.
“We are constantly developing the Ludwigshafen site further to remain competitive internationally. In addition to such important investments in production, this involves modernization and targeted development of the whole infrastructure,” said Dr. Bernhard Nick, Site Manager of the BASF Ludwigshafen Verbund site. “The new TDI plant and the related facilities strengthen the competitiveness of BASF’s largest Verbund site.” Associated investments in precursors and infrastructure will support additional growth in other BASF value chains.
At Schwarzheide, BASF will develop its site structures according to the future needs over the next years to focus more on specialties. With the investment BASF will have two strong sites in Europe for polyurethane basic products: Ludwigshafen for the production of TDI and Antwerp for the production of MDI (diphenylmethane diisocyanate) and propylene oxide.
TDI is a core component for polyurethanes. TDI t o a large extent is used in the automotive industry (e.g. seating cushions and interior applications) as well in the furniture segment (e.g. flexible foams for mattresses, cushions or wood coating).
BASF is a leading supplier of basic products for polyurethanes and is currently operating TDI plants in Geismar, Louisiana; Yeosu, Korea; Caojing, China and Schwarzheide, Germany.