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Double Asian advance for Evonik

Evonik is making a “mid-double-digit million euro investment” in a production facility for its Aeroxide brand of fumed aluminium oxide at its site in Yokkaichi, Japan (pictured). This will be its first alumina plant in Asia and will be geared to making ultra-thin separator coatings the next generation lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Construction will begin this summer for a scheduled opening in 2025.

Yokkaichi has operated as a joint venture between Evonik and Mitsubishi Materials for over 50 years and has many years experience in fumed oxide production processes. The current expansion is described as part of a network of eight fumed oxide production sites globally and “a key milestone of the strategic growth plan on speciality applications”.

Separately, Evonik Catalysts revealed that it is fully on track to expand its production capacities for its Kalcat and Metalys brands of activated nickel powder catalysts at sites in Hanau, Germany, and Dombivli near Mumbai, India. Debottlenecking projects costing a “high single-digit million euros” sum will increase Evonik’s capacity by 25%. This should be available to the market in 2H 2024. The investment is being made in response to growing demand for precious metal-free powder hydrogenation catalysts from the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and sugar substitutes industries.

The catalysts are based almost entirely on nickel and do not have an inert support such as alumina, silica, or carbon, thus facilitating catalyst material reclamation. Evonik has also recently launched activated nickel foam for fixed bed continuous processes. These are said to be lightweight with a very large reactive surface, an extremely low pressure drop, less abrasion, longer catalyst life and reduced maintenance costs in downstream equipment.

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