Reaction & Synthesis

BASF/Dow Commercialize Propylene Oxide Technology

Oct 07, 2004

BASF AG, Ludwigshafen, Germany, and The Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., plan to commercialize their Hydrogen Peroxide to Propylene Oxide (HPPO) technology. The companies plan to construct a plant at BASF’s Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium. Construction is scheduled to start in 2006, and the plant is expected to be online in 2008.

After years of parallel development, BASF and Dow joined forces in July 2003 to develop technology for making propylene oxide (PO) from hydrogen peroxide (HP) and propylene. The results of this joint process development are available for commercial use to both companies.

 One advantage of this process is that no byproducts are formed – only propylene oxide and water. Compared to conventional PO production processes, the HPPO plant will require a smaller footprint, less infrastructure and, therefore, less of an investment.

“The HPPO plant in Antwerp will be the first in the world based on this new technology,” says Dr. John Feldmann, a member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF AG.

“Dow is very pleased with the joint development effort with BASF and the resultant improvements made to HPPO technology,” says Mike Gambrell, senior vice president for Dow’s chemicals and intermediates. “The final process design is better than the early-stage HPPO processes of both companies and shows the advantages of this collaboration.”

The plant will help meet the growing demand for PO derivatives, used mainly in the polyurethane industry. Propylene oxide also is used in the production of propylene glycol, chemical intermediates, flame retardants, synthetic lubricants, oil-field drilling chemicals and textile surfactants.