Published August 2013
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 not stored and is usually produced and consumed on-site, so production and consumption levels are considered nearly equivalent. Very little active worldwide trade takes place for phosgene since most phosgene is consumed in the plant locations where it is produced. However, small volumes of phosgene are transported by tanks for use in other locations.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of phosgene:
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 80% of phosgene is consumed for isocyanates, 16% for polycarbonates, and about 4% 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.
Since phosgene is generated in the plant in which it is consumed, phosgene is linked to the MDI, TDI and polycarbonate resin–producing industries. The top four phosgene-producing companies are Bayer (26% of global capacity; MDI, TDI and polycarbonates), BASF (16% of global capacity; MDI, TDI and other); Yantai Wanhua (11% of global capacity; MDI and TDI) and Huntsman (8% of global capacity; MDI).
The TDI, MDI and polycarbonate markets are expanding in or shifting to the Middle East and China and other Asian countries. Growth in phosgene consumption will be greatest in the Middle East and China, with major capacity expansions for all three main derivatives.