Celanese expands Asian compounding capacity; adding on UHMW-PE and acetyls capacities globally

Celanese expands Asian compounding capacity; adding on UHMW-PE and acetyls capacities globally

Chemical firm Celanese Corporation has announced a number of initiatives to increase its capacity globally. The first of this is to initiate a three-year plan to expand engineered materials compounding capacities at the company’s Asia facilities, including the locations of Nanjing, China; Suzhou, China; and Silvassa, India.

To support the significant business growth expected, Celanese has begun planning for the following Asia expansion investments:

  • i) Nanjing, China compounding and LFT expansion: the intended scope of this project adds approximately 52 kilotonnes of compounding and long-fibre thermoplastics (LFT) capacity at the company’s Nanjing integrated chemical complex by the second half of 2023.

  • ii) Suzhou, China nylon expansion: the intended scope of this project adds approximately 7 kilotonnes of nylon compounding capacity at the company’s Suzhou facility by the second quarter of 2022.

  • iii) India compounding expansion: the intended scope of this project adds approximately 7 kilotonnes/year of compounding capacity at the company’s Silvassa, India facility by the first quarter of 2022.

“By continuing to increase our Asia presence in the engineered materials market, Celanese is adapting to local customer needs and gaining a competitive advantage in a complex and changing environment,” said Tom Kelly, Celanese Senior Vice President, Engineered Materials. “Celanese is committed to expanding its leadership position in the region by increasing both compounding and polymer manufacturing capacities and capabilities through greater investments and additions in its Asia network.”

Financial details of these engineered materials compounding expansions are not being disclosed at this time.

Meanwhile, Celanese is investing in further investments into its emulsion polymers and vinyl acetate producer through facility expansions, new unit builds and key debottlenecking projects in Europe and Asia.

In Nanjing, China, it will expand its vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) and acetic anhydride capacities. Celanese is expected to initially increase the VAM production capacity at its Nanjing facility by 50,000 kilotonnes/year to 60,000 kilotonnes/year, with a phased approach of up to 90,000 kilotonnes/year total of additional annual production capacity expected. The expanded VAM production capacity at the Nanjing facility is made possible via a next-generation proprietary Celanese catalyst and advanced technology package that, when complete, is expected to increase the annual VAM nameplate capacity at the Nanjing facility from approximately 300,000 to nearly 400,000 kilotonnes/year.

Celanese is also planning for a capital efficient 10 kilotonnes/year expansion of acetic anhydride production at its Nanjing facility, bringing the anhydride nameplate capacity at the site to approximately 130 kilotonnes by 2022, allowing Celanese to support demand growth.

Celanese also says that it plans to continue its VAE growth at the company’s Nanjing and Frankfurt facilities through the construction of two new VAE reactors, with an increase of approximately 65 kilotonnes/year capacity at the Nanjing site by 2023, and an increase of approximately 45 kilotonnes/year capacity at the Frankfurt site, also by 2023.

With the April 2020 acquisition of the Elotex business, Celanese further strengthened its derivative expansion program by adding a global redispersible polymer powders product line to help drive growth of VAE emulsions. It is now expanding its redispersible polymer powders growth through debottlenecking efforts currently underway at the company’s European powders facilities, resulting in an increase of approximate 20 kilotonnes/year capacity by 2023.

In a further expansion, Celanese will expand its GUR ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) production capacity in Europe. In addition to the recently announced Bishop, Texas, GUR expansion of approximately 15 kilotonnes/year coming online beginning in 2022, Celanese intends to invest in additional capacity for GUR in Europe. The expansion in Europe is expected to be online beginning in 2024 with a nameplate capacity of approximately 34 kilotonnes/year. Site selection for this new European facility is underway, and Celanese is considering both existing and greenfield locations for a GUR production unit.

The addition of a new UHMW-PE production facility in Europe will support the significant growth in the company’s high-value GUR engineered materials portfolio. With this investment, Celanese will be able to support the double-digit growth for LIBS (Lithium Ion Battery Separators) in the electric vehicle (EV) market. The new facility will also have the option to produce medical grade GUR®.

“EV demand is expected to have a compounded annual growth rate of greater than 25% through 2025, resulting in strong demand for Celanese GUR for LIBS,” said Tom Kelly, Celanese Senior Vice President, Engineered Materials. “We see separator manufacturers and battery producers investing in the European region and looking for local supply. European demand in that sector for UHMWE-PE is forecasted to outperform demand in Asia, and Celanese is well positioned as the world’s premier GUR® manufacturer to support this demand requirement.”

Furthermore, the expansion of GUR capacity completed in June of 2019 at the company’s Nanjing, China, integrated chemical complex, continues to position Celanese as a global producer of UHMWE-PE, giving Celanese the unique ability to work closely with its customers in all regions of the world.


Subscribe to Get the Latest Updates from IMA  Please click here

©2021 Injection Moulding Asia. All rights reserved.