Evonik Industries and AkzoNobel have entered into negotiations to build a membrane electrolysis facility at AkzoNobel's site in Ibbenbüren (Germany). The objective of the negotiations is to establish a joint venture for the new construction and shared operation of an electrolysis facility for potassium hydroxide solution and chlorine. The negotiations of the two companies are expected to be finalized by the end of 2014.
The law stipulates that the production of potassium hydroxide solutions with the current mercury electrolysis technology must be phased out by 2018. The new membrane electrolysis will replace this procedure with an environmentally-friendly and sustainable method.
"This investment would allow us to reliably supply our customers with our potassium hydroxide solutions in the long term", explained Gregor Hetzke, Head of Evonik's Advanced Intermediates Business Unit. "At the same time, it would make an important contribution to the environmentally-friendly and sustainable production of potassium hydroxide solutions."
The membrane electrolysis facility in Ibbenbüren is to have a nominal annual capacity of approximately 130,000 metric tons of potassium hydroxide solution and a nominal annual capacity of approximately 82,000 metric tons of chlorine. After the startup of production, which is projected for the third quarter of 2017, AkzoNobel would take over the marketing of chlorine and hydrogen or process the substances directly at the Ibbenbüren site. Meanwhile, Evonik would take over the marketing and further processing of potassium hydroxide solution at its Lülsdorf site, where Evonik processes potassium hydroxide solution into potassium carbonate.
Evonik is already a European market leader for potassium hydroxide solutions and derivatives as well as a globally leading provider of alkoxides, which also are manufactured by electrolysis in Lülsdorf.