Evonik Industries building precipitated silica plant in Brazil
Evonik Industries (Essen, Germany) plans to build a plant to produce highly dispersible precipitated silica in São Paulo, Brazil by 2016. The new factory is budgeted in the mid-double-digit million euro range. Highly dispersible silica (HDS) is used mainly for high-quality low rolling resistance tires. The plant also will service South America’s food, animal feed, and agricultural industries.
Dr. Johannes Ohmer, head of Evonik’s Inorganic Materials Business Unit, said: “The new plant in Americana will enable us to offer our Brazilian and regional customers high-quality silicas from local production in combination with our outstanding services.”
According to Evonik, the market for low rolling resistance tires and, consequently, for HD silicas, has been growing much stronger than the market for conventional tires in South America. Evonik expects additional demand due to a planned tire labeling program for fuel efficiency for passenger car tires in Brazil. Evonik is the only company in the world that offers both HDS and silane coupling agents, which are used to improve the dispersion and processing of silica in the compound.
Evonik is expanding its silica capacities throughout the world: By the end of 2014 alone, they will have grown by around 30 percent compared to 2010. In Chester, Pennsylvania, a plant for precipitated silica with an annual capacity of about 20,000 metric tons is scheduled to begin operations in 2014. The expansion in North and South America follows expansions that have already been completed in Europe and Asia.
In addition to precipitated silica, Evonik Industries produces Aerosil fumed silica and Acematt silica-based matting agents. Evonik has a worldwide capacity of about 550,000 metric tons per year for precipitated silica, fumed silica, and matting agents together.