Speciality chemical group Evonik Industries, in collaboration with AkzoNobel, has formally started the construction of a new membrane electrolysis manufacturing plant at the latter's production site in Germany.
The new complex is scheduled to be operational by 2017.
The facility has been established through a production joint-venture between Evonik and AkzoNobel, and will produce around 130,000t of potassium hydroxide solution, and around 82,000t of chlorine.
Evonik Industries executive board member and chief operating officer Ralph Sven Kaufmann said: "This joint-venture will secure our future position in the potassium derivatives business.
"We have found an efficient and sustainable solution to keep on delivering for our customers."
Once completed, Evonik will commercialise the potassium hydroxide solution, produced at the new plant. The company will further transport the potassium hydroxide solution from the new plant to its Lülsdorf-based site to processes potassium carbonate (potash).
Chlorine and hydrogen produced at the new plant will be commercialised by AkzoNobel. The company expects to process these products at its Ibbenbüren site.
As per the legislative requirements, both the companies will stop the production of chlorine, potassium hydroxide and caustic lye using mercury-based amalgam electrolysis by 2017.
AkzoNobel specialty chemicals executive committee member Werner Fuhrmann said: "The state-of-the-art plant we are building will set a new benchmark for the production of chlorine and potassium hydroxide solution.
"It will improve the ecological footprint of every tonne of chlorine we produce in Ibbenbüren by 25% to 30%.
"This will result in less energy use and fewer CO2 emissions, while there will also be clear benefits for the local chemical cluster."
Evonik provides potassium derivatives in Europe and alkoxides worldwide, and AkzoNobel supplies industrial salt, merchant chlorine and chloromethanes, as well as caustic lye across Europe.
Through the production joint-venture, both the companies aim to boost its position in the respective market segments.