Fluoride Action Network

Solvay inks pact with UK-based Wood for construction of polyvinylidene fluoride site in France

Source: Polymerupdate | May 26th, 2022 | By Dilip Kumar Jha, Editor
Location: France
Industry type: Plastics

Wood, an Aberdeen (United Kingdom)-headquartered world leader in consultancy and engineering company has secured a new multi-million dollar contract to deliver engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) for Solvay’s new polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) site to be built in Tavaus, France.

PVDF is a high-performance polymer and is produced to meet the growing demand for lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles, creating safer and longer-range performance. This site will increase Solvay France’s PVDF capacity to 35,000 tonnes per annum – making it the largest PVDF production site in Europe. The plant has an existing PVDF production capacity of 16,200 tonnes and is now adding 18,800 tonnes further through a greenfield route.

“We will leverage our in-depth knowledge and experience of delivering EPCm on specialty chemical projects, enabling Solvay France to achieve high-performance polymers used in sustainable mobility. We are committed to the reliable, safe, and successful delivery of this major project,” said Giuseppe Zuccaro, President, Process, and Chemicals at Wood.

This project will be delivered by Wood’s teams across Milan, Italy, and Chennai in India and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Solvay had recently announced an investment of Euro 300 million to increase the production of its Solef PVDF in Tavaux, France which comes on the heels of its French rival Arkema’s plans to add more capacity than planned during the expansion of its Chinese plant in Changsu, Jiangsu.

Additionally, Solvay is raising the output of its own Changsu plant, with the upgrade expected to come on stream in a few months from now. As the market for lithium batteries used in electric and hybrid vehicles continues to boom, another leading supplier of PVDF has unveiled plans to increase capacity for the high-tech polymer use din separators and cathode binders for the power sources. As the emergence of electric vehicles goes on, the demand for lithium batteries has also accelerated.

“There has been a sharp spurt in demand for PVDF in the last few years which reflects the thermoplastic fluoropolymer’s ability to optimize energy storage efficiency by increasing the batteries’ energy density, safety, and power. With the trend to electrification continuing to accelerate, the Solvay Group’s materials business segment is poised to grow sales to the automotive market to more than Euro 2.5 billion by 2030 from around Euro 800 million in 2021,” said a senior official at Solvay.

According to an estimate, the global production capacity of PVDF stands at 80,000 tonnes per annum and an additional 31,000 tonnes per annum (including the one each by Solvay and Arkema) of an additional facility under various stages of completion. Solvay has also a production facility in the United States where Dyneon also is a small manufacturer. Japanese company Kureha operates three PVDF plants in Asia.

Solvay recently launched the Kalix 10000 series, an ideal structural material for precision electronics components used in smart devices, to complement its product line in the Kalix series. The newest HPPA-based material is set to take both performance and sustainability to the next level.

The Kalix 10000 series, a partially bio-based material made with renewable feedstock from non-food competing sources, is produced with 100 percent renewable electricity. Available with a wide range of recycled content alternatives for diverse customer needs, it also has a lower global warming potential than traditional polyamides.

Additionally, it offers higher heat resistance, stain resistance, and lowest moisture absorption in the Kalix series, making it suitable for use in electronic applications with more demanding customer requirements.

Meanwhile, Esseco UK has appointed Wood as a capital delivery partner for the company’s chemical production facility in Wakefield, England. The five-year contract will see Wood draw on its rich experience and capability in asset maintenance and operations to increase efficiencies, optimize performance, and enable production growth at the facility.

Under the site capital plan, Wood will deliver engineering, procurement, and construction services including site upgrades and modifications to ensure operational reliability and enhance productivity. The contract award supports Wood’s diversification strategy and positions the company for further growth as it expands its operational footprint across the industrial clusters in the Yorkshire region.

*Original article online at https://www.polymerupdate.com/blog/plastic-news/2022-05-26-Solvay-inks-pact-with-UK-based-Wood-for-construction-of-polyvinylidene-fluoride-site-in-France.aspx?id=1169671&year=2022