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Rising biodiesel demand drives Evonik’s sodium methylate capacity increase

Evonik is planning to increase capacity for sodium methylate at its Rosario/Santa Fe facility in Argentina from 60,000 metric tons to 90,000 metric tons until 2021.

The expansion is driven by increased demand for biodiesel in South America, particularly in Argentina and Brazil. Sodium methylate is used as a catalyst in large-scale biodiesel production.

“Confirmed higher mandates in Brazil such as the biodiesel blend increase from 11% to 15% by 2023, but also the competitiveness of biodiesel exports from Argentina throughout the world drive our decision,” said Marcos Salgueiro, general manager at Evonik’s Functional Solutions business line in South America. “This is why we continue to invest in our efficient reliable plant, which is strategically located right in the centre of the Argentinean soybean and biodiesel production region.”

“This investment, coupled with the ongoing expansion of our sodium methylate plant in Mobile, Alabama, demonstrates our commitment to our core market of the Americas,” noted Andreas Kripzak, vice-president and general manager for the Americas.

Alexander Weber, global head of alkoxides and potassium derivatives product line, added: “This decision fits perfectly into our global strategy and strengthens further our market leadership position for alkoxides.”

A number of recent biodiesel production capacity additions in the region have reflected the increased importance of the cleaner burning fuel in Central and South America.

“We are following our customers’ investments with our own to ensure ample future supply for this important renewable fuel, which helps to reduce emissions,” concluded Elias Lacerda, regional president for Central and South America.

Evonik also produces high volumes of sodium methylate in Luelsdorf, Germany, which is largely used in European and Asian markets.