China plants: Clariant opens catalyst plant; SK Geo Centric/Satellite to build 4th EAA plant

Clariant opens catalyst plant

Swiss chemical firm Clariant has opened its new CHF80 million Catofin catalyst production site in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China, with the site to serve to increase the already expanding footprint in China, adding on to the existing nearby catalyst plants in Jinshan and catalyst R&D centre within the One Clariant Campus in Shanghai.

“This investment is part of our strategy to strengthen our regional footprint and increase the share of local production in China with leading catalysts technology in a strongly growing segment,“ said Jens Cuntze, President of Clariant Catalysts & Asia Pacific.

Catofin is a catalyst for propane dehydrogenation (PDH), which is used in the production of olefins such as propylene. It is said to deliver superior annual production output, resulting in increased overall profitability for propylene producers. Additionally, Clariant developed a specialty material called Heat Generating Material (HGM), which reduces the energy consumption of the Catofin technology by up to one-third, further highlighting the advantages of this exceptionally reliable, high-yield catalyst solution.

“The successful completion of the Catofin plant pushes us forward on our growth trajectory. It offers significantly more production capacity for the popular, high-value catalyst in a market that’s seeing rapidly increasing demand. The increased production capabilities of the plant ideally position us to meet the demands of the region while simultaneously ensuring more proximity to a strategically important customer base,” said Jace Wang, Head of Propylene at Clariant Catalysts.

Clariant says the site was completed within only 18 months from ground-breaking in September 2020, becoming fully operational last year. The plant features digitalised operations which are essential to be able continue making high quality catalyst while boosting productivity rates, says the firm.

SK Geo Centric/Satellite to build 4th EAA plant

In other news, South Korea’s SK Geo Centric has signed an agreement with Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical (STL) to build its fourth ethylene acrylic acid (EAA) manufacturing plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu, China, with date of completion expected by 2028, an investment of around US$300 million and a targeted production capacity of 50,000 tonnes/year..

The agreement comes half a year after the companies signed a joint venture agreement to build a third EAA factory in August 2022. It is currently in the engineering, procurement and construction process with the complete construction slated for 2025.

With the completion of the EAA Plant 4, SKGC’s global production capacity for EAA will increase to 140,000 tonnes/year, also since it took over Dow Chemical’s EAA business in 2017, it has been operating manufacturing plants in the US and Spain.

EAA is a type of high-performance adhesive copolymer resin produced by only three to four global chemical companies. It has excellent bonding performance for dissimilar materials such as metals and plastics, or paper and plastics. SKGC is the only company capable of commercial production of high acid EAA, a high-quality product grade that exhibits outstanding adhesive performance.

Furthermore, EAA is becoming increasingly useful in various industries due to its excellent performance, including sterilised packs and vacuum packing for meat products, golf balls, and tempered glass. One particular benefit of EAA is its ability to replace existing plastic materials used for paper-coating, resulting in reduced plastic usage, which is expected to generate more demand from the market in the future.


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