Emerald Kalama Chemical, a business group of Emerald Performance Materials, commissioned its second benzoic acid reactor train at its facility in Rotterdam, Netherlands, adding 75,000 metric tons of capacity for the production of benzoic acid.
The added capacity will support growing demand for the company's Kalama® and Purox® brands of benzoic acid and benzoate preservatives, as well as meet expanding internal consumption needs of downstream products, notably K-FLEX® non-phthalate plasticizers and coalescents manufactured at the site. Benzoic acid is used to produce a wide range of products in markets such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, personal care and industrial uses, including adhesives, sealants, caulk, paint, coatings, vinyl and graphic arts.
"Benzoic acid is core to our business so it is important that we stay ahead of market demand," said Hubert Degens, vice president of the Emerald Kalama Chemical Benzoates and Intermediate business. "Our Kalama® and Purox® benzoic acid and benzoates are preferred brands known globally for their high purity, quality and consistency—attributes that have driven solid growth of this platform in our core businesses in applications ranging from food to industrial uses. In recent years, growth for benzoic acid has expanded significantly in response to market demand for products such as non-phthalate plasticizers and paraben-free antimicrobials in personal care applications. Completing this latest expansion on schedule was critical to meeting our commitments to customers and supporting our overall growth strategy."
Construction of the latest expansion was completed in June. Start-up activities and validation commenced in July, and the system is now on-line. This is the group's sixth multi-million-dollar expansion in the last several years at its Rotterdam site.
"Our wave of recent expansion activities, which include expanded operations at our facilities in the United States and the Netherlands, will continue to increase our global footprint and allow us to meet demand for our products," said Brian A. Denison, vice president of operations for Emerald Kalama Chemical. "Rotterdam was the logical site for this current expansion, enabling us to re-start an idle reactor train there and build on it as a foundation, upgrading with new supporting equipment, systems and automation. Our planned investments over the next several years will continue to build upon this latest project and support the future growth and expansion of our downstream products that utilize benzoic acid as a raw material feedstock."
The company has been producing benzoic acid at its Rotterdam and U.S. operations for more than 50 years. In addition to the current benzoic acid expansion, the company commissioned a new flaker production unit for its Purox® B benzoic acid line in 2013 and a new K-FLEX® plasticizer operation in 2012. The company also completed an expansion of its aroma chemical product line capacity in 2013 and several K-FLEX® expansions at its Kalama, Wash. (USA) facility, effectively doubling the global capacity of the K-FLEX® platform since 2011.
Emerald Kalama Chemical has long been a recognized leader in toluene oxidation, focused on benzoic acid, benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol and sodium/potassium benzoate—all which are manufactured at the facilities in Rotterdam and Kalama. Benzoic acid provides a range of functions in industrial applications and is a key intermediate for synthesis of a wide range of chemicals, as well as a chain terminator in the production of alkyd resins and an additive to synthetic polyester fibers, HDPE filaments and thermoplastic elastomers. Other applications include use as a corrosion inhibitor in automotive cooling liquids and as an additive in down-hole mud drilling. The company is also known for its downstream derivatives and specialty materials based on these core products, such as its K-FLEX® phthalate-free line of plasticizers and coalescents and Kalama® line of aroma chemicals.
Emerald Kalama Chemical's portfolio of benzoic acid products is FDA-approved and GRAS-classified. The Rotterdam operation is also certified to a number of important quality standards, including ISO-9001, ISO-14001, HACCP, FamiQS and FSSC22000.
Emerald Performance Materials produces and markets technologically advanced specialty chemicals for a broad range of food and industrial applications. Emerald® products play a variety of roles in the products that are consumed and used every day, enabling them to last longer, look, smell, taste or perform better. Emerald products are used in aerospace, food, beverages, cosmetics, toothpaste, household products, paint, tires, automobiles, sports gear and many other applications. Headquartered in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Emerald has four business groups, eight operations and approximately 750 employees.
Source: Emerald Kalama