Essen, Germany -- Evonik Industries announced 6 Oct that it plans to invest more than Euro 100 million to build a plant for hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in Jilin Province in north-eastern China. Evonik says the move is another step in its aim "to access new sales markets for this environmentally friendly oxidant."
The plant, scheduled to be complete by the end of 2013, will add 230 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) to Evonik's current capacity of around 600 ktpa. Evonik said it believes itself to be the world's second-largest manufacturer of hydrogen peroxide.
Evonik has a long-term supply agreement to pipe H2O2 from Jilin to the adjacent propylene oxide plant run by Jishen Chemical Industry Co. Ltd, via a pipeline linking the two facilities. Jishen will use the HPPO (hydrogen peroxide to propylene oxide) process- to make PO.
The HPPO process was developed by Evonik in collaboration with ThyssenKrupp Uhde GmbH, a Dortmund, Germany-based engineering firm and this summer these two signed a licensing agreement with Jishen Chemical for use of the HPPO process. Propylene oxide is mainly used in manufacturing polyurethane intermediates used in polyurethane foam for car seats or furniture, for example.
Our investment in Jilin is an excellent example of how we're developing innovative technology in order to enable us to access new sales markets for hydrogen peroxide. This move is also part of our growth strategy that sees us making targeted investments in Asia and that will help us to achieve growth in that region," said Evonik board member Dr Dahai Yu, in the company's statement.
Hydrogen peroxide was traditionally used mostly as a bleaching agent for textiles and paper. The HPPO process allows it to be used in the chemical direct synthesis of propylene oxide, with significantly less investment than other routes, and a high degree of efficiency, said Evonik. It is also an extremely eco-friendly process.
The HPPO plant in China is the second of its kind, following the first-ever, large-scale HPPO operation, jointly established by Evonik, Uhde, and Korean chemicals company SKC in Ulsan, Korea, in 2008.
"The global demand for HPPO technology is enormous," according to Jan Van den Bergh, head of Evonik's Advanced Intermediates Business Unit. "We're holding talks all over the world in an effort to further drive forward our growth strategy for hydrogen peroxide by promoting the use of this new technology," he added.
Market forecasts anticipate continual growth of the worldwide market for propylene oxide, said Evonik, adding that its investment in Jilin has the aim of participating in that growth.