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Solvay’s bio-based epoxy feedstock plant in China

Belgian firm Solvay’s Thai affiliate Vinythai will build a facility for epichlorohydrin in Taixing, China, to meet the growth of 8% for the chemical in the market. The plant with an initial capacity of 100,000 tonnes/year requires an investment of EUR155 million and should go on stream in H2 2014.

The Chinese epichlorohydrin market will 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 will be based on Solvay's proprietary bio-based Epicerol technology, using natural glycerine feedstock obtained as by-product from the production of biofuels. The 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 1,000 patents, some of them already granted in different parts of the world.

Vinythai started up its first 100,000 tons epichlorohydrin unit based on the Epicerol technology in Thailand in February this year for the Asian market. The new plant will make Vinythai the second largest epichlorohydrin producer in Asia.