ESSEN, Germany/ANTWERP, Belgium – Evonik is investing in the expansion of its fumed silica capacities in Antwerp, Belgium. The production complex is scheduled to become operational in the summer of 2019. Applications of the specialty silica, which Evonik markets under the AEROSIL® brand, include coatings, modern adhesive systems, transparent silicones and non-flammable high-performance insulation materials.
"The investment is a good fit for our strategy to concentrate more on distinct specialty chemicals businesses and to gradually create a more balanced portfolio," said Christian Kullmann, Chairman of the Evonik Executive Board. "With this investment in the silica business, which has low cyclicality, we are consistently following our growth course and solidifying our position as a leading global provider. Following the planned takeover of the Huber silica business and the continuous expansion of precipitated silica capacity, the AEROSIL expansion in Antwerp is the next logical step," said Kullmann.
The global market for fumed silica shows growth rates exceeding 4%, which outpaces the global economy as a whole. The market for applications in specialty silicones, adhesives for wind turbines and in the area of non-flammable high-performance insulation is posting above-average development. "By expanding our capacities in Antwerp, we want to support the market growth for fumed silica in Europe and other important export markets, while at the same time boosting our integrated European silica-silane production," explained Johannes Ohmer, member of the board of management of Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH. Thanks to its central location in Europe and modern harbor, Antwerp offers ideal framework conditions.
Based on the new AEROSIL expansion, Evonik will be able to supply customers not only with hydrophilic but also hydrophobic silica from Antwerp in the future. A modernization of the silane capacity is intended to secure the raw material supply for the AEROSIL production as well as for silanes used in tire production. AEROSIL is generated as fumed silica from the high-temperature hydrolysis of silanes in a hydrogen flame.
Evonik is a leading global manufacturer of silica. In addition to the fumed silica AEROSIL and the precipitated silica ULTRASIL® and SIPERNAT®, Evonik also produces matting agents made from silica under the brand name ACEMATT®. Overall, the global annual production capacity of Evonik for precipitated and fumed silica as well as matting agents reaches 600,000 metric tons.