Bio–Based Epichlorohydrin Solvay Builds Bio–Based Epichlorohydrin Plant in China

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Solvay taps into the fast growing Chinese epichlorohydrin market: The company's affiliate Vinythai plans the construction of a new facility for bio–based epichlorohydrin in Taixing, PR China. China's epichlorohydrin market is expected to grow on average by 8% per year, becoming the largest single market in the world, analysts believe.

Related Companies

(Picture: Solvay)

Taixing/PR China – The plant, located in the Taixing Economic Development Park, with an initial capacity of 100,000 tons epichlorohydrin per year requires an investment of EUR 155 million and should become operational in the second half of 2014, Solvay announced. A similar plan was already issued in 2011.

Bio–Based Glycerin as Raw Material for Epichlorohydrin

The production will be based on Solvay's proprietary bio-based Epicerol technology, using natural glycerin obtained as by-product from the production of biofuels as feedstock. According to Solvay, this cost competitive and eco-efficient process requires less invested capital, has a 60% lower CO2 balance (cradle to gate), while dividing the volume of chlorinated by-products by eight compared to the conventional propylene based process.

Succesful Application of Bio–Based Epichlorohydrin Technology

This project is the second application of the Epicerol technology by Vinythai, as the company has produced its first 100,000 tons epichlorohydrin with this technology in its first 100,000 tons epichlorohydrin. The new plant will make Vinythai the second largest epichlorohydrin producer in Asia. Vinythai's board of directors has proposed the shareholders of Vinythai to approve the investment formally in July 2012.

Whether coal, gas or even biomass will replace petroleum as the chemical raw material of the future is not yet clear. However, one thing is certain. Alternatives will be needed in the long term despite that fact the even pessimists predict that oil will be available for the next forty years. More about the future bio–refinery–technology in:Seeking an Intelligent Mix: Where Will the Chemical Industry Get Its Raw Materials in the Future?