The company announced last week that it was taking steps to grow its propionic acid facility in Texas City, Texas. Dow Industrial Solutions is a division of the Dow Chemical Company.
The expansion is intended to add additional capacity, said Donna Babcock, business director for Dow Performance Intermediates, a unit within Dow Industrial Solutions.
She noted heightened interest in the grain and feed preservative in recent years. Indeed, the global propionic acid market is expected to grow by 3% annually, according to a November 2017 report from Research and Markets.
“Megatrends for longer lasting foods and animal feed and grain alternatives are key to this growth, as the product primarily serves food and feed applications,” she told FeedNavigator. It also can be used in several other applications including in flavoring agents and as herbicide and dye intermediates, she added.
“The product specifically acts as a preservative for foods, such as baked goods and cheese, and as an anti-mold agent for various bread products,” she said. “It also serves as an anti-mold and anti-bacterial agent for animal feed and grain.”
Dow has been a global supplier of propionic acid, said Babcock.
“The decision to expand the existing facility aligns with our commitment to provide reliable supply and consistent quality to meet demand,” she said.
The upgrade will result in an additional reactor and related, supporting equipment at the Texas site, she said. However, specifics on production capacity are not being released at this time.
The current expansion is expected to be finished by 2019, the company reported. The planned innovation comes after a series of de-bottlenecking projects, completed in 2015 and 2017, at the same location.
Hike in prices
Dow’s move to expand production comes on the back of an announcement by German chemical group, BASF, that it would be increasing the price of its propionic acid products for customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
It said that strong regional demand for products from several sectors including feed and food had prompted the decision.
BASF is planning to increase the price of its propionic acid product to about €150 ($178) more per ton.