Evonik Industries starts up new isobutene plant in Belgium

Source: Evonik Industries

Evonik Industries, Essen (Germany) has started up a new facility to produce high-purity isobutene at its site in Antwerp, Belgium. The new petrochemical plant, which involved investment of tens of millions euros, can produce up to 110,000 metric tons isobutene p.a. and forms part of the site’s integrated C4 production platform. The investment has tripled Evonik’s production capacity for isobutene, which is used, for example, for butyl rubber for applications such as inner liners with low air permeability in automotive tires. 

"The new production plant strengthens our position as one of Europe’s leading suppliers of isobutene," says Dr. Thomas Haeberle of Evonik's Executive Board. Isobutene from Antwerp enables the Group to reliably meet rising demand from customers. 

Jan Van den Bergh, who heads up Evonik’s Advanced Intermediates Business Unit, adds: "At the same time, it further increases our efficiency and flexibility in the management of product streams in our integrated C4 production." Evonik’s integrated C4 production complex in Antwerp is on of the world’s leading technology platforms in this field. As a specialty chemicals group, Evonik produces high-quality starting products and intermediates from crude C4, a by-product of ethylene and propylene production. 

Isobutene is produced by splitting the anti-knock agent MTBE using a new process developed by Evonik. This new process is particularly environment-friendly and resource-efficient: Complex heat integration in the facility minimizes energy consumption. The innovative catalyst used in the process does not contain heavy metals. It makes optimal use of the raw materials, so only very small amounts of by-products are generated.

Isobutene is used in the production of rubber for the tire industry and in plastics, anti-oxidants and fine chemicals. It is also used to produce polyisobutene, a starting product for lubricants, fuel additives, adhesives and sealants. 

In its technologically advanced integrated production facilities in Antwerp and Marl (Germany), Evonik processes all components of crude C4 into isobutene, butadiene, the anti-knock agents MTBE and butene-1, oxo-alcohols and plasticizers.

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