Celanese Announces VAM, Acetic Acid & Engineering Polymers Expansion Plans
US-based Celanese has announced capacity expansions and debottlenecking projects at its global manufacturing facilities for acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM).
At the company’s Clear Lake, Texas (USA) acetyls manufacturing facility, Celanese will start up additional 150-ktpa of VAM capacity by the fourth quarter of 2018. Once this additional production capacity is added, the total capacity for VAM at the Clear Lake facility will be 450-ktpa, making it the largest VAM plant in the world.
As part of its debottlenecking projects, Celanese will implement technology oriented process improvement projects that will add 140-ktpa of acetic acid and 150-ktpa of VAM, when required by demand growth, through the year 2020. “These proprietary debottlenecking projects will leverage a new generation of Celanese’s AOPlus acetic acid and VAntagePlus VAM manufacturing technologies,” the company said.
“To have the ability to add incremental capacity or production volumes as industry growth requires, and do it with an efficient capital outlay, is a hallmark of our industry leadership position,” commented Mr. Todd Elliott, Senior Vice President, Acetyls, Celanese.
For its engineering polymers business, Celanese announced that it is in the initial stages of a debottlenecking project of its polyoxymethylene (POM) production lines to support the continued growth. Phase I of the debottlenecking project is expected to be completed in 2020, and Phase II will be completed shortly thereafter.
“As the global demand for speciality materials continues to grow and the sophistication in functionalised polymers increases, Celanese is partnering with our customers to deliver innovative solutions,” said Mr. Scott Sutton, Celanese’s Chief Operating Officer. “The debottlenecking of Celanese’s POM polymer production lines will support a growing customer base and respond to the increasing complexity in high-performance polymers,” he added.
Meanwhile in China, Celanese is adding a new GUR ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) production line at its Nanjing facility, especially to support the significant growth in the electric vehicle market. The new production line is expected to add approximately 15-ktpa of GUR UHMW-PE product capacity by 2019.
In addition to the demand for GUR in sheet, profile and filter markets, Celanese is seeing market growth in lithium ion battery separators for electric vehicle applications, resulting in 20% to 30% growth in demand per year, with most processors being located in China.
Research deal with ChemChina subsidiary extended
Meanwhile, Celanese has entered into an agreement with Southwest Research and Design Institute of Chemical Industry (SWRDICI), a subsidiary of state-owned ChemChina, to extend their joint research and development in acetyls technology.
The agreement calls for the continued exclusive collaboration between SWRDICI and Celanese to jointly develop technological advances in the production of acetic acid and other acetyls products.
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