The Urethane Blog

Dow Adds MDI Splitter in Freeport and Close La Porte PU Assets

Dow to build MDI distillation and prepolymers facility in Freeport

Marcy de Luna, Houston ChronicleJune 9, 2021Updated: June 9, 2021 11:29 a.m. Comments

This Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 photo shows a Dow Chemical plant in La Porte, Texas where a poisonous gas leak killed four workers. The plant has since closed.
This Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 photo shows a Dow Chemical plant in La Porte, Texas where a poisonous gas leak killed four workers. The plant has since closed.Pat Sullivan, STF / Associated Press

The chemical maker Dow said Wednesday that it will build a methylene diphenyl isocyanate distillation and prepolymers facility at its manufacturing site in Freeport, and shut down its polyurethane assets at the company’s La Porte site.

Methylene diphenyl isocyanate is a chemical used primarily to manufacture polyurethane. Polyurethanes are used in foams, insulation, textiles and automotive manufacturing.

Upon completion of the new Freeport MDI facility in 2023, the company will shut down its polyurethane assets at the La Porte site, according to the release. 

Dow, headquartered in Michigan, operates a facility in Deer Park as well as the 139-acre facility in La Porte, which has 225 Dow employees.

In 1985, Dow purchased the La Porte facility, built in 1960 by the Carwin Company of North Haven, Conn., to produce isocyanates, used in the production of automobiles, boats, athletic footwear, home insulation, appliances, clothing, ice chests, cosmetics, pet food, pharmaceuticals, toothbrushes, dyes, paints and vitamins.

In 1962, the La Porte facility was purchased by the Upjohn Company and expanded to include polyurethane production. 

 Jane Palmieri, president of Dow’s Industrial Intermediates & Infrastructure operating segment, said in the release that the integration of MDI at the company’s Freeport site “creates a cost competitive supply of key upstream polyurethane raw materials, ensures a reliable supply position to support our growth in downstream high-value polyurethane markets and delivers a more sustainable production process.”

 Palmieri also said the investment further enables Dow to support downstream systems customers’ growth.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Dow-build-MDI-distillation-prepolymers-Freeport-La-16235527.php

Dow to build MDI distillation and prepolymers facility in Freeport, Texas

Capacity to support and advance downstream systems growth in construction, consumer, and industrial systems markets; Dow to exit and shut down its polyurethane assets at La Porte, Texas operations

Midland, Mich. – June 09, 2021 – Dow (NYSE: DOW) announced today plans to build an integrated MDI distillation and prepolymers facility at its world-scale manufacturing site in Freeport, Texas. This investment supports increasing demand for downstream polyurethane systems products and advances Dow’s leading positions in attractive applications in construction, consumer, and industrial markets that are growing above GDP.

The new Freeport MDI facility will replace Dow’s current North America capacity in La Porte, Texas, and will also be capable of supplying an additional 30 percent of product to Dow’s customers. In coordination with the start-up of the new MDI facility, expected in 2023, Dow will shut down its polyurethane assets at the La Porte site.

“This MDI investment optimizes our existing asset infrastructure and enhances our global polyurethanes leadership position, further enabling us to support downstream systems customers’ growth,” said Jane Palmieri, president of Dow’s Industrial Intermediates & Infrastructure operating segment. “The back integration at the Freeport site creates a cost competitive supply of key upstream polyurethane raw materials, ensures a reliable supply position to support our growth in downstream high-value polyurethane markets and delivers a more sustainable production process.”

The new facility in Freeport will reduce Dow’s carbon footprint and water usage by:

  • eliminating the need for the generation of thermal power by utilizing existing thermal energy from the Freeport site,
  • reducing water intake and wastewater discharge (through production efficiencies), and
  • eliminating the need for transport of raw materials.

Dow’s extensive Polyurethane Systems franchise upgrades key polyurethane components in order to produce rigid, semi-rigid and flexible foams, and coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers and composites for applications that range from industrial and infrastructure solutions, to consumer comfort solutions in flooring, furniture, bedding and footwear, to automotive solutions for vehicle interior, and energy-efficient insulation materials.

https://corporate.dow.com/en-us/news/press-releases/dow-building-mdi-distillation-and-prepolymers-facility-freeport-texas.html