AkzoNobel is investing €140 million to convert its chlorine plant in Frankfurt, Germany, to state-of-the-art membrane electrolysis technology. The new facility, which will increase current capacity by around 50 percent, will help to reinforce the company’s leadership positions in Europe’s caustic lye and chloromethanes markets, while the total eco-footprint per ton of product will be improved by nearly 30 percent.
Due to come on stream in the fourth quarter of 2013, the Frankfurt operations will apply the latest membrane technology and enable the business to increase annual production of chlorine at the location to an expected 250 kilotons, up from 165 kilotons today.
“This significant investment in our Frankfurt site – one of the strongest European chemical clusters – will enable us to meet robust customer demand, while improving our eco-footprint,” said Rob Frohn, the company’s Executive Committee member responsible for Specialty Chemicals. “It is fully aligned with AkzoNobel’s Value and Values ambitions as we continue to invest in leadership positions in our traditional markets.”
Added Knut Schwalenberg, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals, which operates the chlor-alkali and chloromethanes operations in Frankfurt: “Converting to the most modern membrane technology available fits perfectly with our sustainability agenda and our highly effective Carbon Policy, which has already received industry recognition. It will also strengthen our expanding chloromethanes business in particular, while significantly increasing capacity at the heart of the German chlor-alkali market and emphasizing our confidence in the market as a whole. ”
AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals operates three chlorine plants in Germany (Frankfurt, Bitterfeld and Ibbenbϋren) and two in the Netherlands (Rotterdam and Delfzijl). In 2010, these five facilities exceeded one million tons in total production.
Mostly known as a disinfectant for drinking water and in swimming pools, chlorine is used for a wide variety of applications, including PVC, epoxies and polyurethanes. It is also used in the production of 85 percent of all pharmaceuticals. The company took over the site in Frankfurt in 2009 as part of the LII Europe acquisition.