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February 20, 2014

Uhdenora receives first order for new energy-efficient electrolysis technology

Gerald Ondrey

Uhdenora S.p.A. (Milan, Italy; www.uhdenora.com) and Befar Group Co. have signed a contract for the construction of an 80,000 metric ton (m.t.) per year caustic soda plant at Binzhou City, Province of Shandong, China. The plant will be the world’s first to be based on the NaCl ODC technology owned by Uhdenora. Uhdenora is a joint venture between ThyssenKrupp Electrolysis GmbH, a 100% subsidiary of plant engineering and construction specialist ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions, and Industrie De Nora, an electrochemical technologies supplier based in Milan. This new, highly energy-efficient technology reduces energy consumption by up to 30% compared to the conventional membrane cell process. For the planned plant, this corresponds to an indirect reduction of CO2 emissions by up to 35,000 m.t./yr.

“We are proud to be the first engineering company to launch this revolutionary technology in such an important market as China,” says Albert Zimmermann, managing director of Uhdenora. “As a technology company we are always looking for solutions that are of economic and ecological benefit to our customers. This first order proves that our NaCl ODC technology has potential in the global chlor-alkali market.”

Zhang Zhongzheng, president of Befar, adds: “We are extremely pleased to be cooperating with Uhdenora in building the first industrial NaOH plant based on advanced Uhdenora ODC technology in China. Combining the technology expertise and experience of both companies will ensure the project will be implemented effectively. In setting up such a reference plant we remain true to our pioneering role in promoting new technology and equipment in energy conservation and environmental protection in the Chinese chlor-alkali market.”

The project will be implemented in two phases. In the first phase, which is due to be commissioned in the second half of 2015, the plant will have a capacity of 40,000 m.t./yr. The second phase will follow shortly after. Uhdenora’s scope includes the license, engineering and delivery of the ODC electrolyzers as well as other key components.

Chlorine and caustic soda are an essential building block in today’s chemical industry. Electrochemical chlorine/caustic soda production is, however, one of the most energy-intensive processes in the entire sector. Chlorine is used in particular to produce plastics and also to manufacture pharmaceuticals, while caustic soda finds application in the aluminum and mining industries as well as the detergent and pulp & paper industries.

Uhdenora’s NaCl ODC technology was jointly developed by scientific teams from Uhdenora, ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions and Bayer MaterialScience (BMS), whose efforts led to the successful commissioning of the first industrial reference plant at BMS’s Chempark Krefeld-Uerdingen site in Germany in 2011 (www.che.com/only_on_che/latest_news/8374.html). The plant has now almost completed three years of successful operation. Based on this proven commercial performance Uhdenora and ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions launched the NaCl ODC technology on the market in June 2013. To this effect both have signed a joint cooperation and marketing agreement with Bayer MaterialScience who is the supplier of the NaCl ODC electrodes required for the new technology.

The innovative, sustainable and environment-friendly ODC technology combines the cell technology know-how of Uhdenora and ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions with Bayer MaterialScience’s expertise in the development, design and manufacture of oxygen-depolarized cathodes (ODCs) and Industrie De Nora’s electrode coating and manufacturing capabilities for this technology.

Under the joint venture Uhdenora, ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions and De Nora have already been cooperating for several years in licensing various electrolysis processes. In November 2013 both companies agreed to fully combine their engineering, procurement and construction activities for electrolysis plants in a planned new joint venture under the name ThyssenKrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers. This will enable both partners to expand their technological platforms and move closer to customers through an increased global presence. The agreement is subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities.

 

The planned new company, ThyssenKrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers, will combine the electrolysis business of the two companies under the managerial control of ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions, the majority shareholder, and will be consolidated in the Group. The company will achieve annual sales in the mid three-digit million euro range. Headquartered in Dortmund (Germany), ThyssenKrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers will be represented worldwide with locations in Okayama, Tokyo, Shanghai, Milan and Houston.

 

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