BASF SE (BASF) and The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) announced completion of the start-up phase of the world's largest commercial-scale propylene oxide (PO) plant and the first based on the innovative hydrogen peroxide to propylene oxide (HPPO) technology. This HPPO complex, with a PO capacity of 300,000 mtpa located at BASF's site in Antwerp, Belgium, provides economies of scale, a reduction of wastewater and lower energy usage, the company release says. PO is a core ingredient for the polyurethanes industry. The HPPO technology-based PO facility was jointly developed by BASF and Dow and both the companies have expressed satisfaction with the performance of the new 'milestone' process. "HPPO is an exciting new technology that will improve the competitiveness of our polyurethanes business while also supporting Dow's sustainability efforts through greater energy efficiency, reduced physical footprint, and improved environmental performance," said Pat Dawson, president of Dow Polyurethanes.
In 2003, Dow and BASF began their joint process research program to develop and commercialize the HPPO technology while breaking ground for the production facility in September 2006. The companies say the new PO plants built using the HPPO technology are less capital intensive and only produces PO and water, thereby cutting the need for additional infrastructure or markets for co-products. In addition, the process requires simple raw material integration - just hydrogen peroxide and propylene are needed as raw materials. As long as the environmental benefits are concerned, the HPPO technology reduces wastewater by 70 to 80% and energy usage by 35% compared to the existing PO technologies.