Arkema and Nutrien in HF Supply Deal

04.06.2020 -

Arkema has entered into a long-term partnership with agricultural company Nutrien for the supply of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride (AHF) to the French group’s site in Calvert City, Kentucky, USA.

The deal will secure Arkema’s access to a stable and competitively priced source of AHF, the main raw material for fluorine chemistry, also supporting the group’s growth in fluoropolymers for the water treatment, electronics and battery industries.

As part of the deal, Arkema will invest $150 million in a 40,000 t/y AHF plant at Nutrien’s site in Aurora, North Carolina. The facility, which is scheduled to start up in the first half of 2022, will produce AHF from naturally occurring fluoride that Nutrien will recover from its phosphate production, replacing the more usual source of mined fluorspar.

About half of the new plant’s output will be used to produce polymers and fluoro-derivatives while the remainder will feed production of fluorogases with low-global warming potential (GWP).

Arkema said the “innovative investment” is the first of its kind in the US and aligns with its new climate plan as it reduces overall energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The partnership will also support the constant development of new applications, notably for batteries, 5G electronics and water treatment.

In its strategy update on Apr. 2, Arkema said it would focus on high-value intermediates for fluoropolymers and fluoroderivatives while investigating strategic alternatives, such as a sale or partnerships, for its emissive applications (air conditioning and refrigeration).

In separate news, Arkema finalized on Jun. 1 the sale of its functional polyolefins business to SK Global Chemicals. The deal was first announced last October.

The business, with sales of about €250 million, was part of Arkema’s PMMA activities and comprises ethylene copolymers and terpolymers for the food packaging, cable, electronics and coatings markets.

The divestment is part of Arkema’s aim to become a pure specialty materials player by 2024, focused on adhesive solutions, advanced materials and coating solutions.