Lanxess to equip Newcastle plant with CO2 unit

Lanxess-Feb 24

German specialties chemicals group Lanxess will construct a CO2 concentration unit at its plant in Newcastle, South Africa, which manufactures sodium dichromate.

The prospective €40m facility will supply highly concentrated CO2 to the sodium dichromate plant.

Lanxess Board of Management member Rainier van Roessel said the investment in South Africa marks another step within the company's BRICS strategy.

"It allows the best possible capacity utilization of our Newcastle plant and sets the basis for future expansion of our production," van Roessel added.

"By using our own exhaust air to cater for the CO2 demand we cut down the CO2 emissions of our Newcastle plant by around 25%."

The company said its sodium dichromate production is based on CO2 pressure saturation, in which CO2 is used to convert sodium monochromate into sodium dichromate.

The new unit, which will capture and filter exhaust air from the sites' steam production process, concentrates the CO2 level up to 99% and feeds it into the production process.

Lanxess managing director Karl Gassen said: "This investment further strengthens our unique value creation chain for chrome-based specialty chemicals here in South Africa and underlines our strong commitment to the country and the community of Newcastle."

The new unit is expected to make Lanxess independent of the delivery capacity of external suppliers and will be commissioned in the second half of 2013.

The Newcastle plant manufactures around 70,000t of sodium dichromate per year, which is further processed into chrome tanning materials for the global leather industry.

Headquartered in Johannesburg, Lanxess has 47 production sites worldwide and generated sales of €7.1bn in 2010. The company develops manufactures, markets plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.

Image: The new CO2 unit will supply highly concentrated CO2 to sodium dichromate plant. Photo: Lanxess.