“Reassessing our long-term strategic plan for our key intermediates, our expectations for benzoic acid continue to show strong growth and track according to plan,” said Hubert Degens, vice president of the Emerald Kalama Chemical Benzoates and Intermediates business.
In addition, he said, “our recent acquisition of Innospec Widnes Ltd.'s aroma chemical business—and growth plans for that platform—are in line with our increased production capacity for benzaldehyde.”
Emerald completed the purchase of Widnes, England-based Innospec, a manufacturer of high purity aroma chemicals, in July and is merging the unit into its Emerald Kalama Chemical Flavor and Fragrance business.
The facility in Rotterdam sits on about 35 acres, but the relatively small size of the site is misleading. “It is our single largest facility in terms of production volume,” Biege said, “followed closely by our facility in Kalama, Wash.,” which also produces benzoic acid.
“Together, our Kalama and Rotterdam plants ship products to 70 countries around the world, and over half our sales are outside of the United States and the Benelux region where we manufacture,” she said.
Its new process will add an additional 100,000 metric tons per year of high purity benzoic acid capacity and also increase production capacity for benzaldehyde at the Rotterdam complex. Benzoic acid and benzaldehyde are key intermediates used for downstream products, primarily K-Flex plasticizers and the Kalama aroma chemical line.
“The purification process is one of several processes used in making our benzoates,” Biege said. “Last year, we expanded our totuene oxidation process by 75 kilo tons per annum with the restart of a second reactor.”
Additional capacity at the facility was needed “to meet demand for benzoic acid and benzoate products for our base business in food and beverage and industrial applications, and to support growth of our K-Flex plasticizers used in solvents, adhesives, vinyl and coatings applications, she said.
In addition, she added, the purification technology the firm is adding enables it to convert some portion of that process to produce high purity benzoic acid and benzaldehyde, which also serve as feedstocks for additional processes needed to manufacture other benzoates used in food and beverage, aroma chemicals and plasticizers.