Dow plans MDI expansion

The Dow Chemical Company plans to expand production at its Freeport, Texas, MDI facility by 50 percent over the next 36 months.


The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) plans to expand production at its Freeport, Texas, MDI facility by 50 percent over the next 36 months.



In September 2006, Dow also announced plans to expand MDI production at its Estarreja, Portugal, site. According to a statement, these two projects will significantly increase Dow’s global MDI capacity and, in effect, support the future growth plans of Dow’s performance businesses, which include Dow Polyurethanes.



The Freeport MDI plant came on stream in 2005, and its original design blueprint provided for the possibility of expansion. The expansion will be executed in two stages, with the first half of increased capacity expected to be available in early 2008. When completed, the increase will account for an additional 250 million pounds of name-plate capacity per year of MDI manufactured at the Freeport site.



MDI (diphenylmethane diisocyanate) is a major raw material used in the production of rigid polyurethane foam and polyurethane elastomers. The global market is estimated at eight billion pounds; demand for MDI is currently growing at six percent to seven percent annually, and that is expected to continue. Overall global demand is particularly strong in end-use markets such as home, commercial and industrial foam insulation, as well as refrigeration, appliances, and coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers.



Dow currently produces and distils MDI at the facilities in Freeport and La Porte, Texas; Yeosu, South Korea; Yokkaichi/Kinu Ura, Japan; Stade, Germany; Delfzijl, The Netherlands, and Estarreja, Portugal.