WeylChem makes multiple investments
17th August 2021
ICIG subsidiary, the WeylChem Group, has announced that it is building the largest potassium-fluoride (KF)-based plant for halogen exchange (Halex) reactions in the Western world, at its Allessa site in Fechenheim Industrial Park in Frankfurt. This came hard on the heels of the acquisition of Ineos Sulphur Chemicals Spain from Ineos.
The investment into Allessa is the largest since the firm was originally incorporated into WeylChem eight years ago. The project will take two years to complete. Some orders have already been received, the company said.
Halex technology is used to convert chlorinated into fluorinated aromatic hydrocarbons, facilitating multiple new, multi-step syntheses that can be used to produce highly pure complex intermediates. It is mainly used in the life sciences, but electronic sector applications are also feasible, the company said.
WeylChem added that it adopted the underlying technology from the Frankfurt-Griesheim site that closed in 2019. It has since performed “additional process development and adding comprehensive automation to create what is currently the most modern production facility of its kind”.
The plant is being built into an existing production building, has an integrated energy management system and will obtain key raw materials from nearby Frankfurt-Höchst, where WeylChem has a side-chain chlorination plant and will soon open a ring chlorination plant. KF technology is also much safer than the alternative HF process.
Ineos Sulphur Chemicals Spain, meanwhile, is Spain largest merchant producer of sulfuric acid. The acquisition brings with it a 350,000 tonnes/year plant in Bilbao that makes sulfuric acid derived from the sulfur-burning process. The company also offers oleum and molten sulfur.
The plant, renamed WeylChem Bilbao Spain, is being combined with WeylChem’s French operations at Lamotte. According to WeylChem president, Uwe Brunk, the two production facilities will have a strong combined sales, distribution and logistics set-up. They will also cooperate in purchasing of raw materials and services, EH&S, engineering and regional supply chain optimisation.
Finally, another operation owned by ICIG, Vynova, has also recently announced plans to build a €4 million production plant for liquid potassium carbonate (K2CO3) at its site in Tessenderlo, Belgium. Construction will begin in Q3 and the plant should be operational in mid-2022.
The plant will replace the existing one at the same site and will be the largest of its kind in Europe. K2CO3 is used, among other things, in fertilisers and agrochemicals, and the food processing and glass sectors.
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