• Ron Kotrba

Evonik acquires Porocel, gains access to major refinery, petrochemical customers

Biodiesel catalyst manufacturer and specialty chemical company Evonik completed acquisition of Houston-based Porocel Nov. 3 for $210 million. Porocel is developer of the EcoMax Catalyst Renewal technology by which spent hydroprocessing catalyst employed in the desulfurization process is treated to remove contaminants and activity restored for reuse. Evonik announced its intent to acquire Porocel in late August. Porocel sales in 2019 were approximately $100 million.


Photo: Evonik Corp.

"Sustainability and especially circular economy play a decisive role for us when it comes to acquisitions and the orientation of our portfolio," said Claus Rettig, head of Evonik's smart materials division, in late August. "With the acquisition of Porocel we are meeting increasing demand that is coming from a trend towards sulfur-free fuels as well as reducing CO2 emissions and saving resources. The catalyst rejuvenation process results in significantly less CO2 emissions than the manufacture of fresh catalysts, while yielding comparable efficiency and at a much lower cost."


Porocel and its 300 employees and production facilities will be integrated into Evonik's smart materials division. Evonik says Porocel's global activities in desulfurization catalyst rejuvenation, sulfur recovery catalysts and alumina-based purification adsorbents represent an expansion of its catalyst portfolio.


"The catalysts business line is an important driver of growth and sustainability within Evonik's smart materials division," Rettig said Nov. 3, after the acquisition was completed. "With the targeted acquisition, we expand our competencies with new technologies and products. In this way, we enable our customers to make their processes and products more efficient and resource-saving. The global presence of Porocel along with its available production capacities will further strengthen the worldwide presence of Evonik's catalyst activities."


The acquisition gives Evonik access to major customers in the refinery and petrochemicals sector.


Sanjeev Taneja, head of Evonik's catalysts business line, said, "With the technology for the highly efficient rejuvenation of desulfurization catalysts, Evonik will be able to serve the growing market for low-sulfur fuels. Catalyst rejuvenation reduces CO2 emissions, contributes to sustainability and transition to circular economy thus enabling the reduction of the carbon footprint. Porocel represents a decisive milestone for the catalysts business line and opens up a new horizon for growth."


According to Evonik, Porocel has available production capacity, which will enable Evonik to speed up expansion of its existing business with fixed-bed catalysts.

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