Dow to build MDI distillation and prepolymers facility in Freeport

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The chemcial 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.

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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.

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