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Published: January 2010
The United States, Western Europe, and Asia are currently the major producing and consuming regions for phosgene, which they captively consume to manufacture p,p′ -methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), toluene diisocyanate (TDI), and polycarbonate resins.
Phosgene is currently used to produce isocyanates (MDI, TDI, and other aliphatic, cycloaliphatic, and aromatic isocyanates), polycarbonates, acid chlorides, chloroformates, chlorocarbamates, and organic carbonates. Globally, approximately 75% of phosgene is consumed for isocyanates, 20% for polycarbonates, and about 5% for other fine chemicals. Fine chemical applications are further broken down into 50% for intermediates, 25% for agrochemicals, 20% for pharmaceuticals, and 5% for monomers and coloring agents.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of phosgene:
Since phosgene is generated in the plant in which it is consumed, phosgene is linked to the MDI, TDI, and polycarbonate resin–producing industries. Key findings and future implications for the phosgene market include the following:
- The TDI, MDI, and polycarbonate markets are expanding in or shifting to China and other Asian countries.
- Toxicity concerns about phosgene have driven some consuming industries to find alternative technologies.
- Changes in the manufacturing processes for polycarbonate resins to phosgene-free technology have moderated the growth potential in this application.
- Companies are beginning to emerge that specialize in phosgenation technology, i.e., phosgene production and phosgene reactions, and phosgene derivatives.
Growth in phosgene consumption will be greatest in China and the Middle East, with major capacity expansions for all three main derivatives—MDI, TDI, and polycarbonates.