With the introduction of a new industrial manufacturing process, Bayer MaterialScience is poised to significantly reduce energy consumption and cut CO2 emissions. At the Chempark Krefeld-Uerdingen site, a demonstration plant with an annual capacity of 20,000 metric tons of chlorine has gone on stream. The oxygen depolarized cathode technology used for this has been incorporated into the new electrolysis technology from Uhde/UHDENORA.
The combination of the two technologies was developed at Bayer in Leverkusen over the past eight years. Provided the two-year large-scale trial is successful, Bayer will gradually switch its chlorine production to the new process. In addition, the companies will also offer the new technology to the global market. Large German chlorine producers have already announced their interest, as have a number of companies in the Asia/Pacific region.
"Improving energy efficiency in chemical production processes can considerably reduce electricity consumption in Germany and elsewhere in the world," said Patrick Thomas, Chief Executive Officer Bayer MaterialScience. "In the present-day debate, the subject of energy efficiency is not being given enough air-time. Politicians should focus their attention not only on generating electricity but also on how to significantly lower electricity consumption with comparatively little effort."
In model calculations, experts have concluded that were the Bayer with the Uhde/UHDENORA technology to be used only throughout Germany, it would save enough electricity to supply a city as large as Cologne, a city with more than one million inhabitants. This corresponds to the power generated by a 700-megawatt power plant. Patrick Thomas is calling on politicians to support not only the development of energy-efficient production processes, but also to actively support the widespread application of such technologies in industry. Thomas: "With the right incentives, enormous energy savings would be possible here within a short period of time. As a pioneer in this field, Germany could send out a clear signal in matters of energy efficiency."
"We are proud of our long partnership with Bayer MaterialScience," said Alfred Hoffmann, Member of Uhde's Executive Board. "As a technology-driven company we are always on the lookout for solutions that provide our customers and the market with economic and ecological benefits. This first-class, future-oriented technology has the potential to offer such a solution."
Chlorine is an essential element in today's chemical industry. Electrochemical chlorine production is, however, one of the most energy-intensive processes in the chemical industry. Chlorine is used for the production of plastics in particular and also e.g. for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.