Evonik Corporation will undertake a significant capacity expansion of its sodium methylate facility located in Mobile, Ala. Upon completion, the Mobile plant will be capable of producing up to 90,000 metric tons per year.
The decision to expand capacity follows Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent announcement of renewable volume obligations (RVO) for 2020, which help set compliance for refiners with the Renewable Fuels Standard. Since sodium methylate is the catalyst of choice for large-scale biodiesel production in the U.S., these new EPA figures play an important role in gauging future demand for sodium methylate.
“Demand for biodiesel in the U.S. continues to grow and that’s why Evonik continues to invest in its Mobile sodium methylate site,” said Stefan Plass, head of Business Line Functional Solutions. “We want to be able to deliver our high quality product and services to our customers in the most competitive and reliable way to meet their growing needs.”
The demand for sodium methylate is not solely fueled by biodiesel demand. “In addition to the growth we are seeing from renewable fuels, Evonik’s ability to supply the broad spectrum of life sciences industry with high quality sodium methylate is another decisive factor for our expansion,” adds Andreas Kripzak, general manager and vice president North America, Business Line Functional Solutions. “We aim to expand our regional leadership position for Sodium Methylate on all levels.”
Parallel to its new capacity, Evonik is also investing further in infrastructure and logistics solutions, including an improved rail fleet and higher storage solutions. “Our Mobile site has always featured integrated utilities, excellent logistics access, on-site engineering and a highly trained and dedicated workforce to deliver high quality sodium methylate anywhere in the U.S.,” said Mark Hanlon, sodium methylate plant manager.
Besides Mobile, Evonik also produces sodium methylate in Germany and Argentina.