Dow Adds New Amines Unit


Dow Chemical Co.s new integrated specialty alkanolamines facility in Plaquemine, La., has passed all design tests and is now full operational. The new production unit is the only North American facility producing both alkyl alkanolamine and isopropanolamine products, Dow said, but did not disclose the new facilitys capacity.

Isopropanolamines are used in water-based metalworking fluids to protect against corrosion and improve lubricity. They are also used to reduce friction in buffing, cutting and cleaning fluids. Other uses include gas scrubbing and in production of cement additives, colorants, surfactants, pharmaceuticals and crop protection agents.

Alkyl alkanolamines are used in additives that lower the pour point of lubricating oils. The addition of alkyl alkanolamine soaps to mineral oils produces a soluble oil used in greases, cutting and lubricating oils, petroleum-water demulsifiers and oil emulsifiers. One type of the amine is used in making sulfurized oils for extreme-pressure lubricants.

The new facility will give Dow extensive mix flexibility in the production of amine products to better meet the changing needs of isopropanolamines and alkyl alkanolamines customers, said Jennifer Zamora, global marketing manager, Dow Isopropanolamines and Alkyl Alkanolamines. The new product also reduces levels of co-products and by-products common in earlier amines operations, which result in greater overall efficiency.

On-site production of raw materials – ethylene oxide and propylene oxide – at Plaquemine further enhances the competitiveness of the new plant and also eliminates transportation of hazardous chemicals, Zamora continued.

Dow Amines operates production facilities in North America (Plaquemine and Hanville, La.; Freeport and Seadrift, Texas), Europe (Terneuzen, Netherlands), as well as in Asia at Optimal Chemicals (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., a joint venture of Dows subsidiary Union Carbide Corp. and Petroliam Nasional Berhard (Petronas).

Dows main competitor in the isopropanolamine market is Ludwigshafen, Germany-based BASF, which in November 2005 opened a new plant in Ludwigshafen with capacity to make 15,000 metric tons of isopropanolamines per year.

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