Emerald Kalama Chemical Makes Multi-Million-Dollar Investment an Rotterdam Site

10.04.2015 -

Emerald Kalama Chemical, a business group of Emerald Performance Materials, announced approval for final design engineering and the initial purchase of key long lead time process equipment for the addition of a second benzoic acid purification and finishing process at its facility in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Final approval for full construction is expected in third quarter 2015. The expansion, slated for completion in 2016, will support the group's benzoic acid production unit, adding capacity to process an additional 100,000 metric-tons per year of high purity material and supporting output from the company's two reactor trains in Rotterdam. This project is the group's seventh multi-million-dollar investment in the last several years at its Rotterdam site.

The added purification and finishing capacity will support growing demand for the company's high purity Kalama and Purox brands of benzoic acid flakes, sodium benzoate granules and liquid benzoic acid, which it provides to the market and utilizes for the production of downstream products, notably K-FLEX non-phthalate plasticizers and coalescents. Benzoic acid and sodium benzoate are used as antimicrobials to produce a wide range of products, in markets such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, personal care and industrial applications, including paint, coatings, down-hole drilling and plastics.

"This latest investment is a part of our long-term strategic plan to enhance operations and build the infrastructure needed to support our core global business," said Hubert Degens, vice president of the Emerald Kalama Chemical Benzoates and Intermediate business. "The current project will support increasing demand for our high purity products by our customers in the core food and beverage segment, as well as in growing segments such as personal care, where benzoates are increasingly used as a non-paraben, non-formaldehyde antimicrobial. The added capacity will also meet our internal consumption needs for downstream products."

Engineering and design for the project are underway. Construction will begin later this year and continue through 2016, with a planned start-up in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The company has been producing benzoic acid at its Rotterdam and U.S. operations for more than 50 years. In addition to the current benzoic acid investment, the company commissioned a second 75 kilo-ton benzoic reactor train in 2014, new flaker production unit for its Purox B benzoic acid line in 2013 and a new K-FLEX plasticizer operation in 2012. The company also completed an expansion of its aroma chemical product line capacity in 2013 and several K-FLEX expansions at its Kalama, Wash. (USA) facility.