Dow announced that it will upwardly adjust the nameplate capacity of its Stade, Germany propylene oxide plant to 590 kilotons per annum (1.3 billion pounds), which represents a more than 7 percent increase over the 550 kilotons per annum (1.2 billion pounds) previously reported by the company.
"As raw material and energy costs remain a challenge in the chemical industry, optimizing our assets and setting new standards for efficiency in production, without large capital expenditures, is a high priority for us," said Earl Shipp, business director, Dow PO/PG.
"We have continually improved and optimized our process technology over the years. Dow continues to practice the chlorohydrin technology to make PO and we now operate the first and second largest PO production facilities in the world. The efficiencies we can achieve through economies of scale, Six-Sigma, and process technology improvements keep us competitive in an ever-changing world," said Martine Schoenmaker, Chlorohydrin Technology Center Leader.
The world's largest single producer of propylene oxide, Dow's global propylene oxide capability now totals 1,860 kilotons per annum (4.1 billion pounds). In addition to Stade, Dow produces propylene oxide in Texas, Louisiana, and Brazil.
"Increasing PO capacity at existing facilities without significant capital investment has been a Dow hallmark. In the past 10 years, Dow has added the equivalent of 2.5 world-scale PO plants for less than the 25% of the capital required for new construction," said Schoenmaker.
This follows Dow's announcement earlier in the year of a 14 percent increase in its global propylene glycol (PG) production capacity. At 550 kilotons per annum (1.2 billion pounds), Dow is the world's largest producer of propylene glycol.
"These two low-cost capacity increases are good news for Dow customers. Both confirm Dow's commitment to propylene oxide and propylene glycol as well as to polyether polyols and other PO Derivative products. The increases also demonstrate Dow's ability to provide for the needs of its customers in the most cost-effective manner possible, especially in light of rising and volatile energy prices," said Shipp.
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