Evonik to Build New Silica Plant in Brazil
Evonik has announced plans to produce precipitated silicas in Americana, part of São Paulo, Brazil. The company said it will invest a mid-double-digit million euro sum in the facility set to go on stream in 2016.
This will be the German company's first South American plant for highly dispersible (HD) silica, used mainly for high-quality low rolling resistance tires but also in specialty segments in the region's food, animal feed and agricultural industries.
COO Patrik Wohlhauser said Evonik is positioning itself in South America as an "innovative provider of advanced inorganic materials for resource-conserving applications."
The automotive industry has recorded considerable increases in sales in South America over the past years, and Evonik expects additional demand for HD silicas because of the planned labeling of the energy efficiency of tires in Brazil.
The use of silica in combination with silanes is claimed to enable production of tires that have a much lower rolling resistance, thus reducing fuel consumption by up to 8% compared to conventional tires. According to Johannes Ohmer, head of Evonik's inorganic materials business unit, the company is the only one that offers both components.
By the end of 2014, the German chemical producer, one of the leading suppliers of silicas with total capacity for precipitated and fumed silicas and matting agents of around 550,000 t/y, will have widened its worldwide capacity by around 30% against 2010.
At its US site at Chester, Pennsylvania, Evonik expects to start up a plant for precipitated silica with an annual capacity of about 20,000 t/y later this year. Its expansion in North and South America follows expansions already completed in Europe and Asia. A plant extension in Thailand was completed in March 2014.