Making propylene oxide together

BASF and the Dow Chemical Company are to join forces to develop technology for the manufacture of propylene oxide using hydrogen peroxide as a key raw material.

BASF and the Dow Chemical Company are to join forces to develop technology for the manufacture of propylene oxide (PO) using hydrogen peroxide (HP) as a key raw material.

Both companies have significant patent portfolios as well as extensive pilot plant experience with the hydrogen peroxide route to PO (HP-PO process).

The HP-PO technology owned by Dow was acquired with the company’s acquisition of EniChem’s polyurethanes business in May 2001. EniChem was a pioneer in the development of the hydrogen peroxide process technology, holding a portfolio of patents dating to the early 1980’s. BASF has been developing the HP-PO technology since 1995 and is now in the final stage of its development.

‘Producing propylene oxide via the HP-PO process represents a significant improvement in cost effectiveness when compared to existing processes, and eliminates the complications of handling co-products,’ said Bob Wood, Business Group President of Dow Thermosets, which includes Dow’s Propylene Oxide and Propylene Glycol business unit, along with Polyurethanes, Polyurethanes Systems and Epoxies and Intermediates products.

‘Should the technology meet our mutual expectations, we could have the basic design of a commercial world-scale PO plant available in time for start up as early as 2006,’ added Jean-Pierre Dhanis, President of BASF’s Polyurethanes division.

Propylene oxide is used in the manufacture of polyurethanes, propylene glycol (PG), chemical intermediates, flame retardants, synthetic lubricants, oil field drilling chemicals and textile surfactants.

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