Chempark Sites in Germany Have Seen Investments Totaling €1 Billion Since 2008
The three Chempark sites in Germany's Rhineland region can look back on 100 years of tradition as successful research and production locations in the chemical industry, and as important regional employers and providers of vocational training. It is here that numerous versatile plastics, such as polycarbonates and polyurethanes, and butyl rubber were invented.
At present, the 45,000 people who work for the 70 companies at the three sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen are busy searching for answers to future questions on global issues like energy, mobility and health.
One key factor contributing to such innovation "Made in Germany" is attractive site conditions, which Chempark operator Currenta has established by investing €1 billion since 2008.
Evolution of Chemical Sites
Like any organism, chemical manufacturing sites undergo evolution, too. Companies that do not advance can fall by the wayside under increasingly global market conditions. The reason: opening up industrial sites that have developed over many years not only invites new investors to benefit from the network's efficiency advantages; it also promotes transparency, comparability and competition. By carefully targeting investments and tailoring services to the individual needs of the chemical industry at prices in the top quartile, Chempark lays the basis for remaining one of the largest and most attractive chemical sites in Europe for the future. As a result, customers and newly settled companies at the three sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen can continue to fully concentrate on their core competencies in researching and developing innovative chemical products.
One decisive added-value factor is networking, which Currenta is expanding at the sites themselves, regionally as well as and nationally. These efforts include, for example, the establishment of the Netzwerk Innovative Werkstoffe (Network of Innovative Materials) in the Rhineland, founded by Chempark in February 2011, or its membership in the LOG-IT-Club, whose purpose is to better represent interests in chemical industry logistics. Further, through its communications department, the Chempark operator maintains a close dialog with local residents, government agencies and the general public. This is an important basis for acceptance and therefore long-term reliability in production.
Reliable Energy Supplies
In support of these soft factors, Chempark also ensures a reliable energy supply by generating its own steam on the basis of combined heat and power systems. Some electricity is sourced from external providers. Thanks to numerous power plants in the vicinity and their geographic location on the Rhine as part of a closely linked and powerful network, all three Chempark locations offer a very stable electric power supply. What is more, the redundancy of power grids: while the Leverkusen and Dormagen sites have backup power networks, Krefeld-Uerdingen maintains emergency power generators. However, Currenta does not concentrate on this advantage alone in the location competition.
Chempark operator and manager invested €1 billion between 2008 and 2012 for maintenance and modernization at its three sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen. Expenditures totaling some €250 million are planned for this year. This total breaks down to €110 million for utilities, €70 million for environmental protection, €30 million for infrastructure and €40 million for other maintenance and repair projects.
Utilities: For example, over €4 million are being invested in 2012 to maintain electrical switching systems, through which Chempark customers are supplied with power.
Environment: The Currenta Environment Business Unit is investing €14 million in the Chempark Leverkusen site. The funds are being used to add another hopper with claw crane to incinerator 2 at the Leverkusen-Bürrig Waste Management and Recycling Center. In addition, a large storage and mixing facility totaling 1,600 square meters is under construction for the entire center. Other significant investments are planned for the scrubbing water treatment facility for the flue gas cleaning system. At the Chempark Krefeld-Uerdingen site, the drive and control equipment for the wastewater treatment plant currently is being modernized for €2 million. Once completed, wastewater will continue to be treated reliably in the future, but with significantly less energy and at lower costs.
Logistics: The on-site logistics at a chemical park, comprising pipe bridges, sewerage systems, warehouses, roadways, railways and dock facilities, make a decisive contribution to its attractiveness and efficiency. To optimally coordinate the transportation of raw materials, intermediates and end products, Currenta continuously invests in this area. For example, €5 million are going to the "Signal Tower Project X 45" to increase rail traffic safety and the efficiency of its control over the nearly 33 km of tracks and switches belonging to the Chempark railway in Leverkusen alone (including connections to the public railways belonging to DB Netz). After the control and signaling equipment has been modernized, railway traffic in Dormagen and Leverkusen will be controlled centrally from the signal tower in Leverkusen.
Investments Benefit Site Companies
Currenta continuously invests in more than the overall attractiveness of the three sites; it also invests in specific projects in close cooperation with Chempark companies for their direct benefit. For example, Currenta is investing €40 million in the Chempark Dormagen site, in part to optimally integrate Bayer MaterialScience's new TDI plant. Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) is a flexible foam precursor that is to be produced there starting 2014. It requires a total of 48 product and energy connections, as well as 14 different types of utilities. The new TDI production facility will not only draw steam at different pressure levels from the Chempark network in the future, but also electricity, refrigeration, technical gases and cooling, process and demineralized water. Also under construction on an area immediately to the west is a supply center with transformer station, refrigeration system and cooling tower facility. Energy is supplied via underground pipes as well as existing, expanded and new pipe bridges. By 2014, Currenta will have installed energy distribution networks with a total length of up to 8 km for the TDI plant.
Long Term and Sustainable
Above all, the chemical park concept provides a long-term and thus also sustainable basis for the chemical industry in Germany. By sharing infrastructure, supply and disposal facilities, and producing in a network, companies already settled at Chempark can develop and manufacture products very efficiently. Furthermore, this economic region offers attractive opportunities for service providers and future-oriented industries, such as renewable energies or water and recycling technologies. The fenced-in protected Chempark "organism" provides a supportive environment for research and development, as well as a wide range of over 1,000 industry-specific services. Site investments therefore serve as a guarantee that Chempark is strengthening its role as one of the largest and most attractive chemical parks in Europe, and can offer the right economic niche for the chemical and associated industries into the future.