Dow Global Technologies LLC, a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Co., announced the invention and development of a new, high molecular weight brominated polymeric flame retardant. The Polymeric FR is a flame retardant for use in both extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation applications globally. The development of the technology is the result of the company’s continuing search for more sustainable products and in this case for a flame retardant that can replace hexabromocyclododecane.

DGTL also announced the first license agreement with Chemtura Corp. This first license agreement makes it possible for Great Lakes Solutions, a Chemtura business, to produce and sell the newly developed Polymeric FR for use in XPS and EPS foam. DGTL is currently engaged in advanced licensing discussions with several other interested companies and expects to finalize these agreements by the end of the year. DGTL expects this will enable global supply security, foster market competition and help facilitate a smooth industry conversion to the new technology as EPS and XPS manufacturers adopt Polymeric FR, thereby becoming the new global standard.

To enable formulation optimizations and market qualifications, it is expected that Polymeric FR licensees will have interim quantities available throughout 2011. This will be followed, likely in 2012, by large plant construction by the licensees, making significantly larger commercial volumes available by 2013-2015 that are in line with the current HBCD market demand. This should allow the global polystyrene foam insulation industry to make a smooth transition, as national regulations are implemented.

The development of Dow’s new technology comes against the backdrop of an ongoing search for more sustainable products and pending regulatory restrictions on HBCD initiated by the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances program and several other national regulations.

The Polymeric FR is a stable, high molecular weight, Non-persistent, -bioaccumulative, -toxic substance that has been subjected to an extensive and robust Environment, Health & Safety testing regimen and evaluation, confirming a more sustainable profile. Furthermore, it provides a fire safety solution for EPS and XPS foams to enable these thermal insulation materials to continue to meet the increasing demands of global energy efficiency regulations.

Further updates and statements will be shared by DGTL and DGTL licensees in the future.