Evonik opens new catalysts plant in Argentina
Germany-based Evonik Industries started up a new plant for manufacturing biodiesel-production catalysts in Argentina.
Patrik Wohlhauser, the member of the Evonik Executive Board responsible for the South America Region, said at the dedication ceremony: "We're investing in Argentina, because we want to take advantage of the opportunities for long-term success that the South American market has to offer. As one of the world's leading providers of biodiesel-production catalysts, we wish to continue consolidating and expanding our position," Wohlhauser remarked at the plant opening. He then added, "The investment is both a clear acknowledgment of our commitment in South America, as well as part of our strategy, which we hope will allow us to participate in the region's growth."
With an annual capacity of over 60,000 metric tons, the new production plant will supply ready-to-use alkoxides for use as catalysts in biodiesel production from renewable raw materials. The new facilities will serve primarily the Argentine and Brazilian markets. Evonik located the plant on the same site as Terminal 6 S.A., which operates a large biodiesel facility.
As Jan Van den Bergh, president of Evonik's Advanced Intermediates Business Unit, explains, "Our aim in building the plant in Puerto General San Martín in the Rosario Region - in the heart of Argentina's biodiesel industry - is to supply our South American customers with locally produced, high-quality catalysts."
In 2009, the company started up a new production facility in Mobile, Alabama, USA, with a capacity of 60,000 metric tons p.a. for the North American market. Following the new production technology in the United States, the same type of plant was built in Argentina. The new technology involves directly reacting alcohol with sodium hydroxide to produce alkoxides.
Evonik is one of the leading suppliers in biodiesel catalysts. "The new facility in Argentina will allow us to strengthen our business, both globally and within the region," explained Weber Ferreira Porto, the regional president for South America. "Our aim here is to participate in the development of the biodiesel market, which is forecast to experience positive growth over the medium term."