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.

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(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?

“Benefit From Steady Supply of Epichlorohydrin, Improve Environmental Footprint”

"We look forward to bringing the benefits of our bio-based Epicerol technology to China, the largest epichlorohydrin market in the world. This proprietary technology will contribute to realize the goals of the PRC 12th Five Year Plan to promote sustainability and renewable chemistry," commented Vincent De Cuyper, Group General Manager of Solvay's Chemical Sector. "Customers in China will benefit from the steady supply of sustainable and bio-based epichlorohydrin, contributing to improve their environmental footprint," he added.

Epichlorohydrin Market Grows By Eight Percent, Analysts Expect

The Chinese epichlorohydrin market is expected to grow on annual basis by 8% and represent 35% of total world demand in 2016. Epichlorohydrin is an essential feedstock for the production of epoxy resins, increasingly used in applications such as corrosion protection coatings as well in the electronics, automotive, aerospace industry or wind turbine industry.

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?

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