The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) and BASF received a 2010 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award at a ceremony held June 21 at the Ronald Reagan Center in Washington, D.C. The two companies were honored for their jointly developed hydrogen peroxide to propylene oxide (HPPO) technology that vastly improves the production process of a key chemical intermediate, propylene oxide. Propylene oxide from the HPPO process can be used in a variety of applications from home insulation, appliances, automobiles and furniture to aircraft de-icers, paints, brake fluids and pharmaceuticals.
The award has been presented on behalf of the White House by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency annually since 1996. It recognizes breakthrough technologies that transfer sustainability principles from the research lab into the real world to enable environmentally responsible and economically viable routes to commercial chemical manufacturing. It is the seventh Presidential Green Chemistry award for Dow and the fourth for BASF.
“The EPA’s recognition is a testimony to the power of innovation and collaboration that came together in this project,” said Guillermo Novo, Dow’s Vice President for Polyurethanes. “It will require more new technologies and partnering like this between companies, governments, NGOs and communities to secure our sustainable future.”
“We are proud to have such an outstanding example of joint research and development,” said Jacques Delmoitiez, President of BASF’s Polyurethanes division. “This state-of-the-art technology combines economic success with improved environmental performance and has set the standards for future projects.”
The Dow-BASF innovation offers distinct economic and environmental benefits when compared to conventional propylene oxide (PO) process technologies. A joint study conducted by the two companies in 2007 using BASF’s Eco-Efficiency Analysis tool revealed the new HPPO process reduces wastewater by 70 to 80 percent and energy use by approximately 35 percent, compared with existing PO technology. HPPO technology is also more environmentally friendly because no by-products are produced besides water. In addition, PO plants using the HPPO technology require up to 25 percent less capital to build than conventional technologies, as they have reduced infrastructure, a smaller physical footprint and simpler raw materials integration. The two companies successfully started up the first commercial-scale HPPO production plant in 2008 at BASF’s Antwerp, Belgium, facility. SCG-Dow Group is building a second plant based on this technology, which is scheduled to begin production in Map Ta Phut, Thailand, in 2011.