Role of Pilot Plants in Development and Successful Commercialization of Process Technology
Dow Chemical’s core strength is to take inventions and discoveries in polyolefins catalysis and material science and turn them into innovations through process technology. Dow has a very broad and vibrant portfolio with proven track record of innovation over the last two decades. In this journey of innovation, pilot-plants have played a critical role. At Dow Chemical, pilot plants provide a platform for structured learnings of the complex chemistries and understanding fine nuances of various unit operations to ultimately provide technology packages for commercial implementation. These are the proving grounds for new process concepts that allow mistakes to gain learnings so that money is made on large scale.
INSITE* technology platform and INFUSE* olefin block polymers are a couple of examples of product innovations that now have sales in excess of a billion lbs per year. The polymerization technologies responsible for these breakthrough polymers were validated and developed in the pilot-plants prior to commercial implementation at large scale. The author will share a couple of examples of process technology innovations highlighting how pilot-plant accelerate innovation and help mitigate risks in new technology development.
*Trademark of the Dow Chemical Company