ESSEN, Germany – Evonik Industries has announced construction of the first MMA production plant. The plant is slated for 2014.

Like the traditional ACH sulfo process, AVENEER® is based on the starting materials ammonia, methane, acetone and methanol. It dispenses, however, with the sulfuric acid that is normally used.

Evonik Industries demonstrated its process engineering expertise in optimizing production processes by successfully launching a world-scale methacrylate integrated production network at its Shanghai, China, site. The investment, worth EUR 250 million, was used on the familiar C4 process, which was significantly redeveloped for the first time. The investment broadened the technology platform in the business unit, a strategy Evonik is systematically continuing with AVENEER.

The three-year operation of the AVENEER pilot plant at the facility in Worms, Germany, will enter the final stage in the next few days. “Over the last few years, we’ve worked feverishly on proving that the new process is technically feasible and that it saves costs and conserves resources as anticipated, but also on optimizing it in a number of ways,” said Gregor Hetzke, the President of the Performance Polymers business unit. Due to the potential AVENEER showed from the very beginning, the work continued unabated even in crisis-hit 2009.

“For our customers, AVENEER ensures optimum security of supply for the VISIOMER® methacrylate monomers, something that is especially important given the increasing scarcity of fossil resources,” said Thomas Müller, head of the Acrylic Monomers business line. In the future, AVENEER will allow renewable resources to be used as feed, an area in which a lot of work is currently being done.

With an overall yield of 95 percent, the process is already intensively using the resources deployed, which ultimately has benefits for the environment.

Work on clarifying the location of the first AVENEER plant is currently underway; a decision will be reached in 2011.