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  • Evonik Corp.

Evonik integrates alcoholates business into catalysts division

Photo: Evonik Corp.

Evonik Corp. is pooling its expertise and integrating the alcoholates business into its catalysts business line. The existing extensive portfolio of heterogeneous catalysts is thus supplemented by homogeneous catalysts. As of January, the international network of production sites and the experienced alcoholates team will strengthen the catalysts business line, which is one of Evonik’s growth areas.

The chemical industry is in a profound transformation process, driven in particular by sustainability issues such as circular economy, CO2 reduction and defossilization. Catalysts are at the heart of this transformation because they are required for around 80 percent of all chemical processes.

On the one hand, the bundling supports the transformation of the chemical industry and, on the other, the expansion strategy of Evonik’s catalysts business line is intended to facilitate becoming one of the world’s leading suppliers of catalysts for the chemical industry.

“The global market for catalysts is currently very fragmented,” said Sanjeev Taneja, business area manager for Evonik. “By bundling, we are continuing on our growth path by offering innovative catalysts and adsorbents that create sustainable customer benefits. We are gradually expanding our product and service portfolio in the direction of next-generation solutions—be it through targeted acquisitions or strategic cooperation. This is how our customers can drive their own transformation forward. We succeed in doing this by offering catalysts that enable new sustainable-production processes, products and applications. The integration of the alcoholates strengthens our strategy accordingly.”

The main application of the alcoholates is production of biodiesel from vegetable oils, used cooking oils or other fat-based waste. The use of alcoholates optimizes the process towards the highest possible yield of the starting materials. In addition to the synthesis of active ingredients and fine chemicals, alcoholates are also used in numerous applications in the life-sciences industry.

A particularly promising perspective for alcoholates is the chemical recycling of the plastic PET. Evonik is currently working with partners on splitting the polymer chains of the starting material into the original monomers and thus preserving the chemical building blocks that were used at the beginning of plastic production. New polymers for high-quality applications can then be produced from these components.

The alcoholates business is managed as a separate product area within the catalysts business line and has been part of the smart-materials division since Jan. 1.

In 2021, a turnover of approximately 300 million euros (USD$326.4 million) was generated. The product line is led by Alexander Weber, a proven executive in the alcoholates field.

“The merger is logical and not the last step on our common path,” Weber said. “By merging various functions such as research and development at the Hanau site [in Germany], our core competencies and experience are bundled. This will enable us to work even more purposefully in the future and learn from each other—both with specific products and also in supporting customer-related processes such as supply chain and digitization.”

For customers of the common business area, cooperation will continue uninterrupted. From the quality and delivery of the products to the regional sales channels, the existing processes, structures and contact persons will be retained. A joint market presence will begin in July.

“Evonik wants to make a significant contribution to changing the chemical industry by making technologies faster, more efficient and cheaper,” the company stated. “The bundling supports this project.”

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