Celanese Hikes Asia Thermoplastics Capacity

01.04.2021 - Celanese has announced a three-year plan to expand engineered materials compounding capacities in China and India to support the anticipated growth of its business. The US-based company plans to add about 52,000 t/y of compounding and long-fiber thermoplastics capacity in Nanjing, China, by the second half of 2023.

Another project at Suzhou in China, will see the addition of about 7,000 t/y of nylon compounding capacity by the second quarter of 2022. At its Silvassa site in India, Celanese is looking to add approximately 7,000 t/y of compounding capacity by the first quarter of 2022.

“By continuing to increase our Asia presence in the engineered materials market, Celanese is adapting to local customer needs and gaining a competitive advantage in a complex and changing environment,” said Tom Kelly, senior vice president, engineered materials, adding that Celanese is “committed to expanding its leadership position in the region.” Investment costs in the projects were not disclosed.

In separate news, Celanese said it intends to invest in more capacity in Europe for its GUR ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE). The move follows a GUR expansion of about 15,000 t/y in Bishop, Texas, USA, that Celanese announced last October.

Site selection in Europe is underway with Celanese considering both existing and greenfield locations. The facility will have a nameplate capacity of about 34,000 t/y and is expected to be online at the beginning of 2024. The new plant will support double-digit growth for lithium-ion battery separators (LIBS) in the electric vehicle (EV) market. It will also have the option to produce medical-grade GUR.

“EV demand is expected to have a compounded annual growth rate of greater than 25% through 2025, resulting in strong demand for Celanese GUR for LIBS,” Kelly said. “We see separator manufacturers and battery producers investing in the European region and looking for local supply. European demand in that sector for UHMWE-PE is forecasted to outperform demand in Asia, and Celanese is well positioned as the world’s premier GUR manufacturer to support this demand requirement.”

The projects add to other recently announced plans by Celanese to boost its vinyl acetate monomer and emulsion polymers output in Europe and Asia.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist