Since the introduction of furan NO-BAKE foundry binders, furfuryl alcohol has grown to the largest volume derivative of furfural.
In the seventies Quaker's chemical division decided to build an additional furfuryl alcohol production facilityin Geel, nearby Antwerp (Belgium) to serve the expanding demand throughout the world. In 1998, this Belgian facility became an independent entity - nominated TransFurans Chemicals.
The selective Cu-catalyzed hydrogenation of furfural is the sole industrial route for furfuryl alcohol production. This process
can be performed in gas or liquid phase. TransFurans Chemicals operates world's most effective and biggest furfural hydrogenation plant. The incoming furfural is produced at the world's largest furfural facility, Central Romana Corporation.
The company is close to the Antwerp Seaport for export to the Asian and American continent; the central location of Belgium favors TransFurans Chemicals to supply the European customers. International Furan Chemicals has the exclusive use
and distribution rights of TFC's furfuryl alcohol output of some 40,000 tons.
Today the wide spread use of furfuryl alcohol in foundry resins is the principal outlet of this renewable chemical. Nevertheless, the low viscosity and high reactivity of furfuryl alcohol and the outstanding chemical, mechanical and thermal properties of its polymers have led to successful applications of furfuryl alcohol in other fields than the foundry industry.
Hydrogenation of the heterocyclic ring yields tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol. This furfuryl alcohol derivative is a green solvent and
can be converted into 3,4-dihydro-2 H pyran. Furfuryl alcohol and tetrahydro- furfuryl alcohol are chemical intermediate for the pharmaceutical industry. Furan 2,5-dimethanol, also called 2,5-bishydroxymethylfuran can be processed from furfuryl alcohol
by hydroxymethylation with formaldehyde.