Evonik Industries has formally commenced operations at a new hydrogen peroxide plant in Jilin, China, the company announced on Thursday.
The new production plant has an annual capacity of 230,000 metric tons. Evonik has invested over $136 million (EUR 100 million) in the site, thereby raising its current global capacity for hydrogen-peroxide production to more than 900,000 metric tons per annum.
"This investment further consolidates our market leadership for hydrogen peroxide and sees us resolutely pursuing our growth strategy in Asia," said Dr. Klaus Engel, executive board chairman of Evonik Industries, at the official opening ceremony in Jilin. The event was also attended by high-ranking representatives from politics and the business community.
Evonik will supply H2O2 from Jilin straight to the neighboring propylene oxide plant run by Jishen Chemical Industry Co., which has likewise been newly erected. A long-term supply agreement was signed for this purpose.
Jishen will use the hydrogen peroxide to manufacture propylene oxide on the basis of the HPPO process. Propylene oxide is used predominantly to make the polyurethane intermediates that are used in the manufacture of products such as upholstery for car seats and furniture or insulation material for the construction and refrigeration industry.
"We are registering a great deal of demand around the world for our efficient HPPO process", said Gregor Hetzke, head of the advanced intermediates business at Evonik. "The Jilin plant represents another milestone on the way to establishing hydrogen peroxide as an eco-friendly oxidant for the process of chemical synthesis. The project is also proof of how we use new technologies to systematically drive forward our growth."
Evonik developed the HPPO process together with ThyssenKrupp Uhde. The new plant in Jilin is the second of its kind. Evonik, ThyssenKrupp Uhde, and a Korean chemicals company as the licensee were the first companies worldwide to use the HPPO process on an industrial scale back in 2008 in Ulsan (Korea).
To date, hydrogen peroxide has been used mainly as a bleaching agent by the textile and pulp industry. The HPPO process now allows this eco-friendly oxidant to also be employed in the direct chemical synthesis of propylene oxide. The benefits of the new method are that it requires much lower investment costs, has high production efficiency, and has excellent environmental compatibility.