12
October
2022
|
15:47
Europe/Amsterdam

Capacity expansion in Antwerp

Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Aniline Production Plant

Summary
  • Strengthening the production network for MDI
  • Commissioning of the new plant planned for early 2025
  • State-of-the-art technology for greater energy efficiency and lower CO emissions

Covestro broke ground today in Antwerp for a new world scale production facility for the manufacture of aniline. With the capacity expansion, the company is strengthening its European production network for the foam component MDI. For this purpose, Covestro is investing more than €300 million. The plant is scheduled to be operational – depending on the volatile economic situation – in early 2025. This will create around 40 new jobs.

The basic chemical aniline is an important starting material for many chemical products, including the rigid foam component MDI. The product is mainly used for the production of insulation materials for buildings and refrigeration equipment. Due to the global trend towards sustainability and climate neutrality, the global MDI market is expected to grow by around six percent per year in the medium term. Given the current high electricity and gas prices, especially in Europe, demand for efficient insulation is likely to further increase.

“Even in challenging times, we must not lose sight of our goals. With the expansion of our aniline production, we are addressing the further increase in demand from our customers for energy-efficient solutions for the insulation of buildings and refrigeration appliances. At the same time, by using state-of-the-art technology, we are increasing the energy efficiency of production and thereby the competitiveness of the Antwerp site,” says Dr. Klaus Schäfer, Chief Technology Officer at Covestro.

An important milestone for the site

Dr. Georg Wagner, Covestro Site Manager in Antwerp, sees the investment as a crucial step into the future: “The groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of our aniline production is an important moment for our site. The capacity expansion will enable us to continue to ensure the sustainable and efficient supply of our MDI network in Europe. In doing so, we will continue to draw on the attractive infrastructure and logistics at the heart of the port, from where we also have direct access to the raw materials we need. This investment further anchors us here in Antwerp and also creates sustainable jobs for the future.”

For policymakers in Antwerp, Covestro’s capacity expansion is making a positive contribution to development in the region. “Belgium is the second most important export country for chemistry and life sciences within the European Union after Germany. The sector of chemistry and life sciences is today one of the most important industries in Flanders and heavily invests in R&D and innovation. Last year alone 2.6 billion euro or more than half of all the industrial investments in innovation in Flanders were announced in this sector. Today is another milestone in this respect”, explains Jan Jambon, Minister-President of the Flanders region.

The new plant will use state-of-the-art technologies that will help to significantly increase the energy efficiency of production in Antwerp. Currently, around 20 percent of the steam required on site is covered by using process heat generated during production. The remaining steam is generated using fossil resources. With the commissioning of the new plant, the share of steam generated from process heat will double to 40 percent of local demand, and the use of fossil fuels will decline. The potential savings correspond to up to 27,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. The new plant thus makes an important contribution to achieving Covestro's goal of being operationally climate-neutral by 2035.

The expansion of aniline production is part of Covestro’s global MDI strategy. The aim is to strengthen the production network for MDI in view of a further increase in demand. In Brunsbüttel, Germany, Covestro already commissioned a new plant for the production of MDI using the particularly energy-efficient AdiP technology in 2020. In Tarragona, Spain, a new chlorine production plant based on the likewise particularly energy-saving ODC technology is nearing completion.

Quote:

“Even in challenging times, we must not lose sight of our goals. With the expansion of our aniline production, we are addressing the further increase in demand from our customers for energy-efficient solutions for the insulation of buildings and refrigeration appliances. At the same time, by using state-of-the-art technology, we are increasing the energy efficiency of production and thereby the competitiveness of the Antwerp site.”

Dr. Klaus Schäfer, Chief Technology Officer at Covestro

“The groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of our aniline production is an important moment for our site. The capacity expansion will enable us to continue to ensure the sustainable and efficient supply of our MDI network in Europe. In doing so, we will continue to draw on the attractive infrastructure and logistics at the heart of the port, from where we also have direct access to the raw materials we need. This investment further anchors us here in Antwerp and also creates sustainable jobs for the future.”

Dr. Georg Wagner, Covestro Site Manager in Antwerp

“Belgium is the second most important export country for chemistry and life sciences within the European Union after Germany. The sector of chemistry and life sciences is today one of the most important industries in Flanders and heavily invests in R&D and innovation. Last year alone 2.6 billion euro or more than half of all the industrial investments in innovation in Flanders were announced in this sector. Today is another milestone in this respect.”

Jan Jambon, Minister-President of the Flanders region
Boilerplate

About Covestro:

Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.

The company is committed to becoming fully circular and is striving to become climate neutral by 2035 (scope 1 and 2). Covestro generated sales of EUR 15.9 billion in fiscal 2021. At the end of 2021, the company had 50 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 17,900 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).

Forward-looking statements

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.