Switzerland: Cabb Starts-Up New Plant Chlorine Production Using Membrane Technology
Fine chemical manufacturer Cabb has replaced the amalgam electrolysis plant for chlorine production at its Pratteln site in Switzerland with a plant using the latest generation of membrane technology.
Pratteln/Switzerland — The new plant, which entered operation in October, consumes around a third less energy per metric ton of caustic soda than its predecessor, the company claims. Two electrolyzers, each with 131 6th-generation single-element cells from ThyssenKrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers, form the centerpiece of the plant, featuring zero-gap technology, i.e. there is no gap between the membrane and the electrodes. “At around € 50 million, the new electrolysis plant is the Group’s largest single investment so far worldwide,” says CEO Peter Vanacker. "This is another step in strategically transforming the site from its original purpose of basic chemical production into a leading technology center for high-quality fine chemicals.”
The company is the only company in Switzerland that produces its own chlorine. Salt, a key raw material, is provided via a conveyor belt from the neighboring saltworks. The new plant increases annual chlorine production capacity from 27,000 to 47,000 metric tons, enough to fully meet the site’s demands — all but eliminating the need for chlorine transports. Chlorine forms part of many of the compounds that the chemical manufacturer produces as intermediates for the agricultural, pharmaceutical and specialty chemicals industry, among others. “The new membrane electrolysis plant makes our chlorine production significantly safer, more eco-friendly and more efficient,” says Peter Vanacker. At Cabb, this major project was managed by a five-person all-female team led by chemical engineer Christine Sutter.