Evonik Hikes US Sodium Methylate Capacity
Evonik has announced plans to “significantly” expand sodium methylate capacity at its site in Mobile, Alabama, USA, to meet rising demand. Upon completion, the plant will be capable of producing up to 90,000 t/y. The company did not give current capacity details or an on-stream date.
The German specialty chemicals group said the decision to expand follows the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new renewable volume requirements for biodiesel. These are due to enter into force in 2020, boosting demand for sodium methylate, which Evonik said is the catalyst of choice for large-scale biodiesel production in the US.
In addition, the company is seeing growing demand for sodium methylate in the life sciences industry. Andreas Kripzak, general manager and vice president North America for the Functional Solutions business line, said Evonik aims to expand its regional leadership position for sodium methylate on all levels.
In parallel with the expansion, Evonik will also invest further in Mobile’s infrastructure and logistics, including improving its rail fleet and increasing storage capabilities.
In separate news, the Essen-based group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China’s Vland Biotech to cooperate in the areas of probiotics for animal nutrition and enzymes for industrial applications.
Under the terms of the MoU, the companies will exchange know-how, develop new products and improve process technology.
“Probiotics are already a cornerstone of our gut health solution program, and now together with Vland we believe we can develop this even further,” said Emmanuel Auer, head of Evonik’s Animal Nutrition business.
Established in 2005, Vland is headquartered in Qingdao, Shandong province, and specializes in the research and development of enzymes, probiotics, vaccines and animal health products. The company is focused on providing core technological support for bio-manufacturing, green solutions for food safety, and clean and energy-saving technologies for traditional industries.