Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
Germany: BASF has adopted the voluntary Keymark certification scheme for its Styrodur insulation boards made from extruded polystyrene (XPS). The decision follows the decision by the German government to drop the Ü mark for harmonised building products in late 2016. BASF has decided to use Keymark scheme to show that the product has been approved for use in Germany. It is a voluntary product certification awarded by Din Certco, a TÜV Rhineland company in cooperation with the German Institute for Standardisation (DIN).
Belgium: BASF has increased the methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) production capacity to 0.65Mt/yr from 0.56Mt/yr at its Verbund plant in Antwerp. MDI is used to manufacture polyurethanes, which are used in insulation production and other materials.
Germany: BASF has developed a new technology for welding insulation boards. The contactless, thermal welding process makes it possible to combine a variety of insulation materials. For example, Styrodur, an extruded rigid polystyrene foam from BASF, can be combined with polyurethane, inorganic insulation materials, or the melamine resin foam Basotect to form completely new insulation material solutions.
BASF ‘s Styrodur portfolio includes new, thick boards made using this process in the highly compression-proof varieties Styrodur 4000 CS and 5000 CS. The boards cover the thickness range from 60mm to 240mm with a consistently good insulation value (lambda = 0.035W/mK).
China: BASF has adopted a polymeric flame retardant for Neopor in China. It has replaced the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) with PolyFR in its white expandable polystyrene insulation product.
“There is a greater need than ever for energy efficiency in the commercial and residential construction sectors, and EPS insulation materials like Neopor have the right properties to serve this need. Additionally, with the switch to PolyFR, we are now ensuring that the thermal insulation products are suitable for a wide range of sustainable building projects in the future. These high-quality materials can help developers address the increasing market requirements for energy efficient living and working spaces while ensuring regulatory compliance,” said Giorgio Greening, Senior Vice President of BASF’s global styrene foams business unit.
PolyFR is already used as an effective flame retardant in BASF’s portfolio of polystyrene-based insulation materials worldwide, including the Neopor range used in Europe, North America and China. As the first manufacturer in Europe and the first in Korea to switch entirely to PolyFR, BASF is now the first to do so in China.
China: BASF has begun trial operations at its mononitrobenzene plant within the integrated 400,000t methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) complex in Chongqing, China. This MDI site covers an area of more than 50 hectares, including facilities of 400,000t/yr of Mononitrobenzene, 300,000t/yr of aniline, 400,000t/yr of crude MDI, and an MDI splitter with a capacity of 400,000t/yr. Mononitrobenzene is a precursor for the production of MDI, a component for polyurethanes.
India: BASF has unveiled its largest construction chemicals plant in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. This is BASF's fifth construction chemicals plant in the country.
With its state-of-the-art technology and its strategic location close to regional growth centres, the plant will enable BASF to respond in a timely fashion to customers' needs in the southern part of India and to support them with high-performance solutions in the highly-competitive market.
"With the new plant at Nellore, BASF offers a comprehensive range of solutions to help construct buildings that are more energy-efficient, durable and require fewer resources for maintenance," said Ralf Spettmann, president of construction chemicals at BASF.
Germany: Germany's BASF has switched its entire polystyrene-based insulation product portfolio for the European market to the new polymeric flame retardant (PolyFR). The change comes nine months ahead of the deadline laid out in the REACH regulation, which forbids the use of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) as a flame retardant as of 21 August 2015. This means BASF's 'Styropor' and 'Neopor' Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and its 'Styrodur' extruded polystyrene (XPS) are only available with PolyFR from now on.
"By switching to PolyFR we can guarantee the supply of eco-efficient thermal insulation products for sustainable building projects in the future," said Giorgio Greening of the group's Styrenic Foams business unit. Using PolyFR allows producers to manufacture insulation materials that meet Class E under European standards.
To meet rising global demand for PolyFR, which has a better environmental profile than HBCD, a number of producers have set up new production plants, including the recent announcement by Albemarle and Israel Chemicals (ICL) to set up a PolyFR joint venture.
Denmark: Danish insulations materials producer Rockwool International has agreed to acquire BASF Wall Systems, which is owned by the BASF Group. The group's German subsidiary Deutsche Rockwool will acquire all of the German external façade insulation producer including a factory in Marktredwitz and the HECK MultiTherm and Rajasil brands.
"This is a major leap forward for the Rockwool Group's strategy of offering customers more complete solutions consisting not only of insulation but also all the other necessary elements of a total facade system such as paint, render, etc. The BASF Wall Systems business is in this respect a great asset," said division managing director of the Rockwool Group's Europe division, Henrik Frank Nielsen. He added that purchase enhances the group's façade strategy and gives it a 'significant' foothold in the German External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS) market.
Rockwool declined to comment on the value of the deal, saying that the deal was too small to have any impact on the buyer's valuation. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. BASF Wall Systems had a turnover of Euro68m in 2012 and it had 190 employees.
Germany: BASF, the multinational chemical company, has announced plans to divest its subsidiary BASF Wall Systems GmbH & Co. KG, together with its factory in Marktredwitz. Currently, BASF Wall Systems employees 190 workers.
BASF Wall Systems is a supplier of insulation and finishing systems in the German market. The company's main field of business is systems for the exterior and interior thermal insulation of buildings. In addition, the company offers renovation and restoration systems for historical buildings.
"Our Wall Systems business in Germany posted significant growth over the last few years. Nevertheless, there are only limited synergies with other BASF fields of activity that we can make use of. A new owner will be better able to drive the business," said Dr Tilman Krauch, president of BASF's Construction Chemicals division.
China: Asia can improve its energy-efficiency and cut carbon emissions by adopting proven energy-saving technologies, but this has to be supplemented with regulations and market-driven energy pricing to be effective, according to the vice-chairman of the German chemical giant BASF. Beijing's practice of setting energy prices below those in the free market mean some opportunities had been lost due to poor economic fundamentals, said Dr Martin Brudermueller.
"If you look at the low energy cost in China, and you take the top one million households in Chongqing and you say you will reduce the air-conditioning cost by 50%, you end up with only US$280 of savings per year per household. You could hardly invest this in building insulation because it simply doesn't pay off," he said.
BASF is working on several projects to provide insulation materials for Chinese buildings that help cut heating and air-conditioning demand. Brudermueller says up to 60% of energy consumption can be cut with retrofitting. In addition to insulation, energy can be saved by treating floors to make them reflect heat and pigments can be added to building materials to reflect infrared lights - even if the materials are black. He added that China's energy consumption per square metre of floor space is two to three times higher on average than that seen in the EU.