AkzoNobel invests $180 million for 50% increase in Frankfurt Chloride and Caustic Soda facilities
The increasing requirements in Europe for chlorine and derivatives over the past five years means the current plant is not meeting demand.
Caustic soda is a solution of Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) in water.
It is a strong base with a wide range of applications in different industries produced with chlorine and hydrogen from the electrolysis of salt brine.
Worldwide, the major users of caustic soda are the aluminum industry, pulp & paper and the chemical industry.
The main applications are water treatment and water purification, as cleaning agent, or a wide range of uses in chemical industry like starch production or for the desulphurization in the petrochemical industry.
AkzoNobel is producing Caustic Soda in five plants in Europe and has decided to increase capacity in this region.
At the Frankfurt-Höchst industrial estate, Germany, AkzoNobel is converting an amalgam electrolysis plant to the modern membrane process and has commissioned ThyssenKrupp Uhde to design and supply the energy-saving ThyssenKrupp Uhde membrane cells.
This extensive conversion project involves replacing the existing amalgam cells with ThyssenKrupp Uhde single-element membrane electrolysers.
The new plant will increase annual production capacity by around 50% to:
- 250,000 t/y of chlorine
- 275,000 t/y of caustic soda solution.
“We are proud that our electrolysis technology is to be used at the Frankfurt-Höchst site, where the first Hoechst-Uhde membrane cell was once developed,” said Dr. Sami Pelkonen, Head of ThyssenKrupp Uhde’s Electrolysis division.
ThyssenKrupp Uhde‘s scope of services will include:
- Detail engineering and supply (EPC) of the electrolysers
- Supervision of the commissioning (EPCM) activities
New process for 30% energy savings
The membrane process uses high purity brine to produce a high quality product without environmental repercussions.
Developed by polymer chemists, the process currently produces around one-tenth of Europe’s chlorine.
The Frankfurt Hoechst plant will use the perfluorosulfonic acid membrane which provides greater energy efficiency for the chlor-alkali electrolysis.
In addition to the expansion, the conversion of the process is expected to provide 30% energy savings per ton of product.
Commissioning is scheduled for completion on the fourth quarter of 2013.
This capital expenditure is fully aligned with AkzoNobel’s Value and Values strategy to boost and sustain its Market Leadership in the chlor-alkali industry.