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A new process for making TDI slated for its commercial debut

By Chemical Engineering |

When a 300,000-m.t./yr plant starts up in 2010 at Bayer’s integrated site in Shanghai, China, it will be the first world-scale application of a new process for producing toluene diisocyanate (TDI) developed by Bayer MaterialScience AG (BMS; Leverkusen, Germany; edlinks.chemengonline.com/6895-531). The new process, which was described by BMS’s head of the Polyurethanes Business Unit, Peter Vanacker, at a press conference last month in Dormagen, has much lower operating and investment costs compared to the conventional route. TDI — a starting material for the production of flexible polyurethane foam — is produced by the phosgenation of toluene diamine (TDA). In the conventional process, the reaction of TDA with phosgene is performed in the liquid phase as a highly dilute solution. As a result, considerable energy is required to purify the product TDI because large volumes of solvent have to be removed by distillation. Alternatively, by performing the reaction in the gas phase, the amount of solvent required is only one fifth that used in the liquid phase, which leads to a corresponding reduction in energy for distillation. In the new gas-phase process (flowsheet), phosgene and TDA (at atmospheric pressure) are…
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