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Electrolysis

New Energy-Efficient Electrolysis Technology — First Order for Uhdenora

| Editor: Dr. Jörg Kempf

Demonstration plant at Bayer Material Science, Uerdingen (Germany), based the oxygen depolarized cathode (ODC) technology with an annual capacity of 20,000 metric tons chlorine
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Demonstration plant at Bayer Material Science, Uerdingen (Germany), based the oxygen depolarized cathode (ODC) technology with an annual capacity of 20,000 metric tons chlorine (Picture: Bayer Material Science)

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Uhdenora and Befar Group have signed a contract for the construction of an 80,000 mtpy caustic soda plant at Binzhou City, Province of Shandong, China. The plant will be the world’s first to be based on the NaCl ODC technology owned by Uhdenora.

Essen/Germany, Binzhou/PR CHina – This new, highly energy-efficient technology reduces energy consumption by up to 30 % compared to the conventional membrane cell process. For the planned plant, this corresponds to an indirect reduction of annual CO2 emissions by up to 35,000 metric tons.

“We are proud to be the first engineering company to launch this revolutionary technology in such an important market as China,” said Dr. Albert Zimmermann, Managing Director of Uhdenora (a joint venture between ThyssenKrupp Electrolysis, a 100 % subsidiary of plant engineering and construction specialist ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions, and Industrie De Nora, an electrochemical technologies supplier based in Milan). “As a technology company we are always looking for solutions that are of economic and ecological benefit to our customers. This first order proves that our NaCl ODC technology has potential in the global chlor-alkali market.”

Mr. Zhang Zhongzheng, President of Befar, added: “We are extremely pleased to be cooperating with Uhdenora in building the first industrial NaOH plant based on advanced Uhdenora ODC technology in China. Combining the technology expertise and experience of both companies will ensure the project will be implemented effectively. In setting up such a reference plant we remain true to our pioneering role in promoting new technology and equipment in energy conservation and environmental protection in the Chinese chlor-alkali market.”

The project will be implemented in two phases. In the first phase, which is due to be commissioned in the second half of 2015, the plant will have a capacity of 40,000 mtpy. The second phase will follow shortly after. Uhdenora’s scope includes the license, engineering and delivery of the ODC electrolyzers as well as other key components.

Chlorine and caustic soda are an essential building block in today’s chemical industry. Electrochemical chlorine/caustic soda production is, however, one of the most energy-intensive processes in the entire sector. Chlorine is used in particular to produce plastics and also to manufacture pharmaceuticals, while caustic soda finds application in the aluminum and mining industries as well as the detergent and pulp & paper industries.

The relationship between Uhdenora and Befar, a leading enterprise with more than 40 years’ production experience in China’s chlor-alkali and propylene oxide industry, dates back to 2006 when the first order for an electrolysis plant based on the Uhde BM 2.7 Single Element was signed. Over the years the fruitful relationship between the two companies has, through new plant capacity expansions, led to an installed capacity of 430,000 mtpy NaOH. Awarding Uhdenora with this new NaCl ODC order underlines BEFAR’s trust in Uhdenora’s cell technology and chlor-alkali expertise.

Uhdenora’s NaCl ODC technology was jointly developed by scientific teams from Uhdenora, ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions and Bayer Material Science (BMS), whose efforts led to the successful commissioning of the first industrial reference plant at BMS’s Chempark Krefeld-Uerdingen site in Germany in 2011. The plant has now almost completed three years of successful operation. Based on this proven commercial performance Uhdenora and Thyssen Krupp Industrial Solutions launched the NaCl ODC technology on the market in June 2013. To this effect both have signed a joint cooperation and marketing agreement with Bayer Material Science who is the supplier of the NaCl ODC electrodes required for the new technology.

The innovative, sustainable and environment-friendly ODC technology combines the cell technology know-how of Uhdenora and Thyssen Krupp Industrial Solutions with Bayer Material Science’s expertise in the development, design and manufacture of oxygen-depolarized cathodes (ODCs) and Industrie De Nora’s electrode coating and manufacturing capabilities for this technology.

Under the joint venture Uhdenora, Thyssen Krupp Industrial Solutions and De Nora have already been cooperating for several years in licensing various electrolysis processes. In November 2013 both companies agreed to fully combine their engineering, procurement and construction activities for electrolysis plants in a planned new joint venture under the name Thyssen Krupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers. This will enable both partners to expand their technological platforms and move closer to customers through an increased global presence. The agreement is subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities.

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