Construction of new acetonitrile plant in Korea

March 6, 2012
Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corp.

Asahi Kasei Chemicals has finalized a decision to construct a new acetonitrile plant in Korea. The plant will have a production capacity of 11,000 tons per year, and start-up is scheduled for January 2014. Having a second production base for acetonitrile, in addition to its Japanese base, will enable Asahi Kasei Chemicals to assure a reliable supply of acetonitrile as demand continues to grow rapidly worldwide.

Acetonitrile is produced by refining the crude acetonitrile obtained as a byproduct of acrylonitrile (AN). It is mainly used as a solvent in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, with other notable uses including as analytical reagent and in the field of agrichemicals. With an acetonitrile plant in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan, having a production capacity of 14,000 tons per year, Asahi Kasei Chemicals is a major supplier to markets in Asia and Europe as well as Japan. Strong growth in demand for acetonitrile is forecasted, particularly for use in the field of pharmaceutical manufacture. Asahi Kasei Chemicals had therefore been examining how best to increase production capacity and ensure reliable supply as markets continue to grow.

A decision was made to construct a new acetonitrile plant at Tong Suh Petrochemical Corp., Ltd., an Asahi Kasei Group company in Korea, which is currently constructing a new AN plant in Ulsan with startup scheduled for January 2013. The acetonitrile plant in Korea will utilize crude acetonitrile byproduct from the AN plants in Korea.

Having two production bases for acetonitrile, in Japan and Korea, will enable Asahi Kasei Chemicals to provide reliable supply to meet growing demand in the pharmaceutical industry especially in India and China.

Outline of the new acetonitrile plant

Capacity:   11,000 tons/year
Location:   Within Tong Suh Petrochemical’s Ulsan plant grounds
Feedstock:   Crude acetonitrile byproduct from AN production
Groundbreaking:   March 2012
Start-up:   January 2014

Corporate profile of Tong Suh Petrochemical Corp., Ltd.

Location:   Ulsan, Korea
President:   Jong-Pil Huh
Capital:   237.6 billion won (approx. ¥19.0 billion)
Shareholder:   Asahi Kasei Corp. (100%)
Main products:   AN, NaCN, etc.


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