February 5, 2008
Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corp.

Large order for chlor-alkali equipment received from Dow Chemical
Total capacity of AKCC membrane-process plants to surpass 15 million tons
Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corporation (AKCC) and The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) have concluded an agreement for the provision of AKCC membrane-process equipment to be installed at Dow's new chlor-alkali facility in Freeport, Texas, US, announced January 29, 2008.

With this process, ion-exchange membranes are used in the electrolysis of brine to produce chlorine and caustic soda. The equipment now on order will comprise Dow's second facility in Freeport using the AKCC membrane process, making Dow's Freeport plant one of the world's largest membrane-process chlor-alkali units upon startup in 2011. AKCC has previously supplied membrane-process equipment to Dow, the world's largest chlor-alkali producer, at plants in Germany in addition to Freeport.

The AKCC process enjoys the world's top share, earning a strong reputation since its world-leading commercial development in 1975. Dow's selection is based on its recognition of the AKCC capabilities for development and provision of advanced technologies and of the operating performance and reliability of its process, equipment, and systems. With the new order from Dow, electrolysis systems using the AKCC process are operating or scheduled for construction at 98 plants in 19 countries with a total capacity of over 15 million tons/year converted to 100% caustic soda.

In addition to Dow, many of the world's leading chemical producers use the AKCC membrane process for chlor-alkali, including Formosa Plastics in Taiwan, Akzo Nobel in the Netherlands, Shintech in the US, and BASF in Germany. In the growing market of China, AKCC has received orders which will raise capacity of plants using this process to over 6 million tons/year, with major customers including Shandong Dongying Chemical, Xinjiang Tianye, Huantai Bohui Chemical, Juhua Group, and Tianjin Dagu Chemical.

Demand for PVC and caustic soda is increasing markedly in China and India as these countries enjoy strong economic growth, and AKCC is receiving numerous inquiries about its ion-exchange membrane electrolysis process. Demand for membrane-process plants to replace plants using the mercury and diaphragm processes for chlor-alkali is also growing in response to environmental concerns and increased power costs due to the high price of oil.

AKCC has marked its membrane-related businesses, including ion-exchange membranes and systems, battery separators, and filtration systems, as a key to strategic growth in higher value-added fields. In membrane-process chlor-alkali, it is the world's only supplier of complete systems comprising its own ion-exchange membranes, electrolyzers, cathodes, anodes, and operating technology. Reinforcing its world-leading position, AKCC is targeting 25 million tons/year in total capacity of plant orders by 2010.

Features of the AKCC membrane process for chlor-alkali include
  • Elimination of the use of the environmentally hazardous mercury or asbestos;
  • Low cell voltage for low power consumption;
  • Production of high concentration caustic soda, reducing the need for steam to raise the concentration; and
  • Production of high purity chlorine, enabling feed to a dichloroethylene line without liquefaction.


AKCC's Aciplex™ ion-exchange membranes for chlor-alkali enable outstanding electrolytic performance, including low cell voltage, high current efficiency, and resistance to brine impurities.


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