The (R)Evolution of Chlorine: Ways into the Post-Mercury Era
But it is not just mercury causes complain about costs: Current studies indicate that the number of regulations for the chlorine-alkali chemistry has doubled in the last ten years. This has incurred additional costs of approximately 30%, according to the European chemical industry association CEFIC.
Nevertheless, experts are optimistic: With the changeover to membrane electrolysis, the industry in Europe is well positioned. Cefic has a strong partner in emissions trading and the implementation of the REACH regulations.
One way or another: The seemingly troubled chlorine chemistry has proven to be more durable than predicted. A revolution in, or even extinction of, the industry is basically out of the question. In fact, the continuous further development of process components at Eurochlor such as membranes, pipes or fittings, has shown the way forward into the future.
This way, Asahi Kasei was able to significantly improve its membrane classic Aciplex: With a new coating and reinforced diaphragm, the Aciplex F700 1X has a thinner layer thickness and thus high selectivity at a lower voltage than predecessor models. The Japanese company emphasises the fact that impurities in the lye have a lower impact on the membrane.
Technologies for a New Era
Thyssen Krupp Uhde’s Chlorine Engineers (UCE) presented a further evolutionary stage of their filter presses technology with the Nx-Bitac, as well as the BM 2.7 membrane electrolysis element which combines zero-gap membrane technology with a single-cell-construction.
And the oxygen depolarised cathode ODC developed in cooperation with Covestro is designed to help chlorine producers reduce energy consumption by up to 25% or increase production with the same energy usage by the same amount.