Chlorine Industry Plus 5.6 %: Chlorine to Make a Comeback in Europe

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Water, Pharmaceuticals and polymers are pushing the demand for chlorine. Especially output in Europe grew considerably, despite the end of mercury based production in December.

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Chlorine production & capacity utilisation - EU 28 + Norway/Switzerland 
Chlorine production & capacity utilisation - EU 28 + Norway/Switzerland
(Source: Eurochlor)

Brussels/Belgium – The stuff that chemicals are made of: Chlorine is one of the most important commodities and used in half of the world's commercial chemical industries. In fact, 15,000 chlorine-containing compounds are traded commercially worldwide, include chlorinated hydrocarbons, vinyl chloride for PVC-plastics, chlorine based catalysts and many more.

Due to its use in diverse industries, roughly 60 million tons of chlorine are produced worldwide each year – a number that’s set for growth: The demand for chlorine, driven by its use for paper and pulp bleaching, chemicals, plastics, water treatment or for pharmaceuticals, could rise significantly, the World Chlorine Council (WCC) states. Especially water and pharma products are expected to drive consumption, as chlorine is use in 98% of water treatment plants and 85% of pharmaceutical production processes.


Chlorine is needed wherever the industrial production is growing. Thus, Asia with its rapidly developing markets is the key growth driver for this greenish yellow and highly reactive gas. But the second biggest market potential comes as a surprise: Western Europe is set for comeback with a total chlorine production reaching 823,530 tons. With 27,451 tons, the November average daily production was 5.4% higher than in the previous month (October 2017: 26,040 tons), and 5.6% higher than in November 2016 (25,999 tons), figures by the industry association Eurochlor confirm.

With 231,332 tons, the November 2017 caustic soda stocks were 12.2% higher than in the previous month (October 2017: 206,260 tons), and 35,095 tons above the level of November 2016 (196,237 tons). December 2017 also saw the end of chlorine production using mercury based electrolysis. Of 21 mercury technology plants operational at the beginning of the year, seven (with a combined capacity of 665,000 tons) have been closed and 14 converted to the more sustainable membrane technology.