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Covestro to modernize TDI plant in Dormagen

| By Mary Bailey

To further strengthen the sustainability and competitiveness of TDI (toluene diisocyanate) production for the manufacture of flexible foams in Europe, Covestro AG (Leverkusen, Germany) is investing a mid to high double-digit million euro amount in the modernization of its production plant in Dormagen by 2025. The plant was commissioned in early 2015 and is considered one of the most advanced TDI production facilities in the world due to the use of the gas phase technology developed by Covestro. The work will include the installation of a modern reactor that will enable the reaction energy to be used for energy-efficient steam generation in the future. 

The modernization will significantly improve the plant’s energy efficiency and thereby reduce CO2 emissions. After the modernization, the plant will consume up to 80 percent less energy than conventional processes for the production of TDI, and greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by a further 22,000 tons per year. This not only makes a significant contribution to achieving the company’s climate targets and safeguarding European TDI production in the face of sharply increased energy costs, but also improves the sustainability performance of the customer industries. The first phase of the project has now been successfully completed with the lifting of the equipment into the plant. All further measures will be implemented gradually until spring 2025. This will ensure a continuous supply of TDI to customers. 

“We want to continue to grow in Germany and drive forward the transformation to climate-neutral production. Nevertheless, the general conditions, especially the high energy prices, are making it increasingly difficult for us to make such investments,” says Dr. Thorsten Dreier, Member of the Board of Management and Chief Technology Officer at Covestro. “Policy-makers must finally take effective measures to restore Germany’s competitiveness in terms of energy prices and ensure a reliable basis for the climate-neutral transformation of industry.” 

The TDI plant in Dormagen has an annual capacity of 300,000 tons. It uses the gas phase technology developed by Covestro, which even before modernization required up to 60 percent less energy and up to 80 percent less solvent than conventional processes. The current investment will significantly increase the efficiency and therefore sustainability of the plant even further. TDI is an important raw material for soft foams, which provide comfort in mattresses and upholstered furniture as well as car seats, for example. The material will continue to play an important role for Covestro and the processing industries in the future. 

“In Dormagen, we maintain the largest production facility for TDI in Europe, which means that the location plays a central role in the reliable supply of our customers in the region. Now we continue to consistently align ourselves with their needs. The investment not only underlines our commitment to the European market, but also enables our customers to further reduce their indirect CO2 emissions on the way to developing climate-neutral and circular products for the consumer markets,” says Dr. Christine Mendoza-Frohn, Head of Performance Materials Sales EMEA and LATAM. “At the same time, this investment also underlines our ambition to play a leading role in climate protection and the circular economy together with our partners along the value chain.” 

The modernization of the TDI plant in Dormagen is partly funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action as part of the Federal Funding for Energy and Resource Efficiency.