Solvay announced that its Thai affiliate Vinythai will serve the vast and growing Chinese epichlorohydrin market with a new production plant in Taixing, China. The plant with an initial capacity of 100,000 tons epichlorohydrin per year requires an investment of EUR 155 million and should become operational in the second half of 2014.
The Chinese epichlorohydrin market is expected to grow on annual basis by 8% and represent 35% of total world demand in 2016. Epichlorohydrin is an essential feedstock for the production of epoxy resins, increasingly used in applications such as corrosion protection coatings as well in the electronics, automotive, aerospace industry or wind turbine industry.
The new plant located in the Taixing Economic Development Park will be based on Solvay’s proprietary bio-based Epicerol® technology. The plant will use as feedstock natural glycerin obtained as by-product from the production of biofuels. This cost competitive and eco-efficient process requires less invested capital, has a 60% lower CO2 balance (cradle to gate), while dividing the volume of chlorinated by-products by eight compared to the conventional propylene based process. The Epicerol® technology is protected by 1000 patent titles, some of them already granted in different parts of the world.
Vinythai started smoothly its first 100,000 tons epichlorohydrin unit based on the Epicerol® technology in Thailand on last February 2012 and is now supplying regularly the Asian market. The new plant will make Vinythai the second largest epichlorohydrin producer in Asia. Vinythai’s board of directors has proposed the shareholders of Vinythai to approve the investment formally in July 2012.
“We look forward to bringing the benefits of our bio-based Epicerol® technology to China, the largest epichlorohydrin market in the world. This proprietary technology will contribute to realize the goals of the PRC 12th Five Year Plan to promote sustainability and renewable chemistry,” commented Vincent De Cuyper, Group General Manager of Solvay’s Chemical Sector. “Customers in China will benefit from the steady supply of sustainable and bio-based epichlorohydrin, contributing to improve their environmental footprint,” he added.