Baytown, United States of America


The plant is a toluene diisocyanate (TDI) plant located in Baytown, Texas, USA.

The TDI-II plant produces a number of raw materials for polyurethane. Desmodur H, Desmodur N and Desmodur Z are key raw materials used in polyurethane coatings for the automotive OEM, automotive refinishing, industrial finishes and maintenance industries. Both the TDI-II plant and the methane diisocyanate (MDI) capacity are important for supplying the car-coatings market. Polyol and isocyanate are mixed just before application, giving hard varnishes with good chemical resistance or more flexible varnishes with good scratch resistance. Desmodur W is mainly used in manufacturing water-borne coatings and elastomeric coatings.

TOLUENE DIISOCYANATE CAPACITY INCREASE

The TDI-II facility was dedicated in February 2001, and was the last major project in Bayer's five-year investment program. Costing around $150 million, the plant was completed in May 2000, and worked at near capacity from July 2000 until February 2001. The polyurethane investments are part of a broader polymers capital expenditure program totalling $1.3 billion. Baytown was settled on as the preferred site in 1998, and has increased Bayer's total capacity by more than a third.

This amounts to a capacity at the Baytown facility of 150,000t/yr. The plant is dedicated for export to Asia and South American markets. The marketing and logistics expertise of Bayer was so successful that the unit had already sold out by the end of 2000. Bayer also expects consumption to increase 4.5% annually over the next few years.

The first tranche of the money for the coatings plant, went to de-bottlenecking and expanding the production of four of Bayer's major products produced at the site: Desmodur H, Desmodur N, Desmodur W and Desmodur Z aliphatic isocyanates. This investment will result in increased capacities of 25% for Desmodur H, 15% for both Desmodur N and Desmodur W, and 100% for Desmodur Z.

The remaining portion of the total investment, a relatively small amount of money, will be used to make quality improvements and infrastructure enhancements at the Baytown facility.

INVESTING IN BAYTOWN

The company has been active in Baytown since the 1970s, and is said to have invested a total of $1.3 billion in the site, although this investment has been made over a lengthy period. An MDI plant, capable of producing 180,000t/yr and costing $140 million, was completed by Bayer in Baytown in October 1998. Bayer also invested $140 million into a dinitrotoluene (DNT) and toluene diamine (TDA) plant.

The Baytown site was chosen after an attempt to build the plant at a site in Taiwan met such fierce local opposition that Bayer decided to withdraw. The local provincial assembly had voted to put the possibility of a new chemical plant being built in the area to a local referendum, even after the land had been leased and there had been a lengthy planning enquiry, but Bayer withdrew before the vote was taken.