South Jordan, Utah - Headwaters Inc. and Evonik Industries AG (formerly Degussa AG) announced 14 Jan that they have substantially increased production capacity for hydrogen peroxide at the facility operated by their joint venture in Ulsan, Korea.
After acquiring the 34 kilotonnes-per-annum facility from Finnish company Kemira Oyi of Helsinki in 2006, the HeadwatersEvonik joint venture has more than doubled capacity within a year, using proprietary technology from Evonik.
The Ulsan facility will supply hydrogen peroxide to customers in Korea and particularly to the adjacent facility operated by the Seoul-based company SKC, to use in making propylene oxide (PO).
The start-up of the extra capacity "brings us a good deal closer to providing a platform for the future commercialisation of our direct synthesis technology," said Dr Bing Zhou, vice president of Headwaters Technology Innovations Group, in a company statement.
In a few months, SKC will start up one of the world's first production facilities to make PO using the HPPO (hydrogen peroxide to PO) process, the statement said. SKC originally said it planned to start up a 100 ktpa HPPO plant at Ulsan early in 2008.
This low-cost more environmentally friendly route uses hydrogen peroxide and propylene as starting products, according to the developers. The PO is used to make polyols for producing polyurethane foam, used for example in vehicle and furniture cushioning and in instrument panels for automobiles.
SKC has acquired a license for the HPPO process, which was developed by Evonik and Uhde of Dortmund, Germany, and uses a proprietary Evonik catalyst.
"Joint development of innovative technologies enables us to enter new areas of business in collaboration with established partners," pointed out Dr Thomas Haeberle, head of Evonik's Industrial Chemicals Business Unit. He cited the industrial use of hydrogen peroxide in chemical synthesis reactions as an example, adding that "To provide a long-term basis for this strategy, HeadwatersEvonik is currently working on a new catalytic direct synthesis route for the production of hydrogen peroxide."
PIC SKC's HPPO plant under construction in Ulsan.