The Dow Chemical Co. announced that it is planning to expand its cellulosic production capacity, particularly for construction grade applications, with a geographic focus on the Asia Pacific region. Global demand for cellulosics in the construction industry grew nearly 15 percent in the past year alone, outstripping global supply. Expanding capacity will position Dow to meet the increasing global demand for cellulosics and demonstrate its commitment to investing in specialty products that deliver an advantage to Dow customers and their markets.

Decisions regarding the location and capacity of assets will be made upon completion of a feasibility study.

Dow produces several cellulose ether grades, such as hydroxyethyl cellulose, hydroxyethyl methyl cellulose, and hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose for a wide variety of market segments such as pharmaceutical, personal care, industrial and building and construction. These segments are poised to experience high growth, driven by global trends including population growth, a rising middle class and infrastructure investments in rapidly developing regions. In the next 10 years, the construction industry is projected to grow nearly 7 percent per year in China and South Asia alone.

“For our business, this will help add greater value to our customers around the world,” said Colin Gouveia, global general manager, Dow Construction Chemicals. “Our world-class cellulose ether production sites in Germany and the U.S., along with our steadfast commitment to this industry for more than 40 years, have enabled us to sustain our leadership position in cellulosics. Expanding capacity will allow Dow to further grow this position; maintain reliable supply for our customers; and demonstrate the company’s commitment to invest in attractive, high-growth regions.”

In the building and construction industry, cellulosic products act as thickening agents to enhance sag resistance, water retention, adhesion and workability in a variety of dry mix applications, such as tile adhesives and grouts, tape joint compounds, reinforcing and bonding mortars for EIFS, and gypsum- and cement-based plasters and renders.