Eurochlor 2014 Small Steps and Big Hopes for Europe’s Chlorine Industry
Only cautious optimism among European chlorine producers: Rising energy prices, new technologies and weak demand for chemicals and polymers in Europe cloud the perspective for this basic material.
Therefor, at Euro Chlor’s 9th Technology Conference (April 1-3 2014, Madrid, Spain), chlorine producers were cautious about the future of the industry. European policy demands a change from the previously used mercury–based chlorine manufacturing technology to a membrane process, which does not use the toxic transition metal, until 2017.
Now, with European energy prices being significantly higher than in other parts of the world and regional demand, especially in Southern Europe, still below pre–crisis levels, some experts believe that a reduction in European chlorine production capacity will be inevitable.
Others, such as Euro Chlor’s chairman Alistair Steel, are more optimistic: “We encourage our members to strive at higher levels”, Steel said in the opening presentation of 2014’s Euro Chlor conference in Madrid.
With the technology transition already well underway (about 58 % of the EU chlorine capacity already employ membrane processes, about 26 % still use mercury), he called upon policy makers to strive for a solution for the EU debt crisis and to boost European competitiveness, especially in terms of the energy policy.