Leverkusen, Germany - Bayer MaterialScience and engineering company Uhde are to build a 20 kilotonne-per-annum (ktpa) plant to make chlorine using common salt. And BMS is also making the technology available to other companies, said a 30 March announcement from the German materials group.
The new plant, at Chempark Krefeld-Uerdingen in Germany, will start operating in the first half of 2011 and will be the first industrial-scale use of innovative oxygen-depolarised cathode technology for making chlorine, developed by Bayer MaterialScience, using electrolysis cells from UHDENORA.
BMS said that the process uses up to 30 percent less electricity than standard membrane technology, giving an indirect reduction of up to 10 ktpa of CO2 emissions.
As part of tackling climate change, "It is important to us to adopt a holistic approach - and that is why we are also offering the oxygen depolarised cathode to other companies for eco-friendly chlorine production," said Dr Tony Van Osselaer, a member of the Bayer MaterialScience board.
"The more CO2 emissions we can prevent across the globe, the better," Van Osselaer added.
Electrochemical production of chlorine is currently one of the most energy-intensive processes in the chemical industry, and chlorine is used in large quantities in making plastics and pharmaceuticals. The new technology using gaseous oxygen enables the electrolysis to be done at a lower voltage.
BMS has been using its oxygen-depolarised cathode technology on an industrial scale for making chlorine using electrolysis of hydrochloric acid, both at the Bayer Integrated Site Shanghai (BISS) in China and in Brunsbuettel, Germany.
Uhde and BMS initiated the project with three universities: RWTH Aachen, Clausthal University of Technology and Dortmund University, with funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under a sustainability programme.