Evonik announced that it is investing an amount in the upper double-digit million euro range in the expansion of its fumed silica capacities in Antwerp, Belgium.
Essen/Germany — The production complex is scheduled to become operational in the summer of 2019, the company said. Typical applications of these specialty silica, which the company markets under the Aerosil brand, include coatings and paints, modern adhesive systems, transparent silicones as well as non-flammable high-performance insulation materials.
"This investment is a good fit for our strategy to concentrate more on distinct specialty chemicals businesses and to gradually create a more balanced portfolio," says Christian Kullmann, Chairman of the Evonik Executive Board.
Silica are part of “Smart Materials”, which, according to the manufacturer, have an above-average market growth and margin potential. "Following the planned takeover of the Huber silica business and the continuous expansion of precipitated silica capacity, the Aerosil expansion in Antwerp is the next logical step," Kullmann notes.
The global market for fumed silica shows growth rates exceeding four percent, which outpaces the global economy as a whole. The market for applications in specialty silicones, adhesives for wind turbines and in the area of non-flammable high-performance insulation is posting above-average development. "By expanding our capacities in Antwerp, we want to support the market growth for fumed silica in Europe and other important export markets, while at the same time boosting our integrated European silica-silane production," explains Johannes Ohmer, member of the Board of Management of Evonik Resource Efficiency.
Based on the new expansion, the manufacturer will supply customers with hydrophilic and hydrophobic silica from Antwerp. A modernization of the silane capacity is intended to secure the raw material supply for the fumed silica production as well as for silanes used in tire production. Aerosil is generated as fumed silica from the high temperature hydrolysis of silanes in a hydrogen flame.