AkzoNobel and Evonik Industries broke ground at the site of their production joint venture for chlorine and potassium hydroxide solution at Ibbenbüren in Germany. AkzoNobel will use the new plant to produce chlorine and hydrogen. The ceremony was staged at AkzoNobel's existing facility in Ibbenbüren, where the two companies will build and operate a new membrane electrolysis plant, which is due to come on stream by the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the company.
Werner Fuhrmann, member of AkzoNobel's executive committee responsible for Specialty Chemicals, and Ralph Sven Kaufmann, member of the board of Evonik Industries AG, conducted the official proceedings at the event, which was attended by customers, suppliers and employees of both companies, and representatives of the city of Ibbenbüren and relevant authorities.
Construction of the new facility will help secure the long-term future of the Ibbenbüren site and that of the chemical cluster, according to AkzoNobel. The plant will reportedly have an annual nameplate capacity of around 130,000 metric tons of potassium hydroxide solution and 82,000 metric tons of chlorine.
AkzoNobel will commercialize the chlorine and hydrogen at the new plant, or will process these products directly at the Ibbenbüren site. Evonik will take the new plant's potassium hydroxide solution for commercialization and processing at its own site in Lülsdorf, which is where it processes potassium hydroxide solution into various products, including potassium carbonate (potash). All production of chlorine, potassium hydroxide and caustic lye using mercury-based amalgam electrolysis has to stop by the end of 2017 due to legislative requirements. The planned new membrane electrolysis plant will use a sustainable process.
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