CHARLESTON, Tenn.—Wacker Chemie A.G. intends to invest $150 million to establish a new pyrogenic silica facility on the same site as its existing plant in Charleston.
Construction is projected to start in the second quarter of 2017 with completion targeted for the first half of 2019. Wacker said the new site will have an annual capacity of 13,000 metric tons for its HDK brand of pyrogenic silica and create 50 jobs.
A company spokesman said in an email that local authorities—the Bradley County government offices, Bradley-Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Board and the state of Tennessee—was outstanding in providing aid to the firm for infrastructure measures, road access and access to a reliable power supply.
"Our HDK brand of fumed silica is in high demand," the spokesman said. "The additional capacities strengthen our market position as a leading global producer of fumed silica and help us to provide our customers with the volumes they need also in the future."
Wacker's facility in Charleston produces hyperpure polysilicon for the solar and semiconductor sectors. It employs about 650 people with an annual capacity of 20,000 metric tons.
The firm currently produces its HDK-branded pyrogenic silica at Burghausen and Nuenchritz, Germany, and Zhangjiagang, China. The Munich-based chemical company said it is the world's third largest manufacturer in this sector.