AMSTERDAM - AkzoNobel's Specialty Chemicals business is studying plans to expand production of high-purity vacuum salt at its Delfzijl site in the Netherlands. The project would increase output at the facility by around 25%.

The ongoing study is due to be completed in the first half of 2018, with the aim of completing the project within three years. It represents the latest in a series of expansions designed to meet increasing European demand for high-purity vacuum salt.

"In addition to strong demand for pharmaceuticals, companies are moving towards more efficient technologies for the manufacturing of chlorine and caustic soda, all of which require salt of exceptional purity," explained Knut Schwalenberg, Managing Director - Industrial Chemicals at AkzoNobel. "This project will ensure that we can continue to meet rising demand from our customers."

The salt is obtained from deposits at Delfzijl that are free of contamination and purified with the use of steam from sustainable sources, making it ideally suited for industrial applications.

The company's Delfzijl site has become increasingly sustainable in recent years. For example, it uses renewable electricity and steam generated from waste, while green hydrogen is produced for buses that operate in the region.

AkzoNobel's plans for the facility follow the recently completed expansion of high-purity salt production for pharma applications at Mariager in Denmark. The company is also carrying out a series of upgrades at its Hengelo plant in the Netherlands. In addition, a high-purity salt joint venture with ICL Iberia at Suria in Spain was recently started, which will open up new markets in the Mediterranean region.