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  • Evonik Corp.

Evonik starts up new production plant for gas-separation membranes in Austria

Evonik's new hollow-fiber spinning plant for the production of gas-separation membranes in Schörfling am Attersee in Austria (Photo: Evonik Corp.)

Specialty-chemicals company and biodiesel-catalyst manufacturer Evonik Corp. announced Feb. 24 it has started up a new hollow-fiber spinning plant for the production of gas-separation membranes in Schörfling am Attersee in Austria.

The new production capacity enables the company to meet the ongoing strong demand for Sepuran® membranes in biogas, nitrogen, hydrogen and natural-gas applications.

Evonik invested a low double-digit million-euro amount in the new plant and created around 30 new jobs in Schörfling.

“The growth path of the membranes business clearly follows the group’s new sustainability strategy,” said Lauren Kjeldsen, head of Evonik’s smart-materials division.

Last May, Evonik announced plans to invest 3 billion euros by 2030 in next-generation solutions, products with superior sustainability benefits.

The company’s goal is to increase sales of next-generation solutions from the current 37 percent to more than 50 percent by 2030.

The rapid increase in demand for next-generation solutions offers above-average growth potential for Evonik.

“With our innovations, we support our customers in making their own products more sustainable and improving their own climate footprint,” Kjeldsen said. “Our membrane technology for efficient gas separation is a living example of how next-generation solutions from Evonik contribute to sustainable added value in close cooperation with all market players.”

In the new production plant, a high-performance polymer is processed into fine hollow fibers in several process steps. They are at the heart of Evonik’s Sepuran® membrane technology.

The specialty-chemicals company draws on its many years of expertise in polymer chemistry and adjusts key membrane properties already at the development stage of the base material—a high-performance polymer—to produce particularly selective and robust membranes that can withstand extreme pressures and temperatures.

“The global gas market has confidence in our membrane technology,” said Goetz Baumgarten, head of the membranes innovation growth field at Evonik. “With the capacity expansion in Schörfling, we are sending an important signal to our customers and partners of Evonik’s commitment to helping them accelerate the energy transition towards a sustainable gas economy. We believe the energy mix of the future will be biogas, green hydrogen and further synthesis products. That's why we are already working to expand our product portfolio and production capacities for this transformational market growth.”

Evonik already relies entirely on renewable energies for membrane production in Schörfling am Attersee.

Green electricity from wind, water and biomass has been a key energy source for the production facility for years.

Since the beginning of 2022, the specialty-chemicals company has also been meeting 100 percent of its gas requirements with biomethane from regional production.

By switching to an environmentally friendly energy supply, Evonik is reducing its direct annual CO2 emissions in Austria by around 4,000 metric tons.

Evonik bundles its membrane activities into one of its six innovation growth fields. Within a decade, the company has become a global technology leader for gas-separation membranes.

Sepuran® hollow-fiber membranes are extremely efficient for separating gases such as methane (CH4), nitrogen (N2), and hydrogen (H2) from gas mixtures.

The advantages of Evonik's membrane technology include a more precise separation of the gases and higher productivity.

Sepuran® N2 membranes for efficient nitrogen generation are used, for example, for inerting airplane fuel tanks. Sepuran® Noble membranes extract the hydrogen transported through natural-gas pipelines from the CH4/H2 gas mixture at specific points at the H2 gas withdrawal points.

Sepuran® NG membranes enable efficient processing of natural gas from sources with high CO2 concentration.

Sepuran® Green membranes enable efficient biogas processing from organic and circular sources.



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