Specialty chemicals company Evonik has officially begun construction on its largest investment to date in Germany. Armin Laschet, the minister president of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Christian Kullmann, the chairman of the executive board of Evonik Industries AG, stood in the front row as over 200 shovels were planted in the ground at the construction site in the middle of Marl Chemical Park. The ceremony, which was also attended by customers, employees, and other representatives from the world of politics, signaled the launch of the project. The company is expanding capacity for polyamide 12 (PA 12) by more than 50 percent at its largest site in the world. The project will complement existing PA 12 production there with additional plants for the polymer and its precursors. Startup is scheduled for 2021.
When speaking at the ceremony, Armin Laschet pointed out the special significance of investing over €400 million euros in Germany, and especially in the northern part of the Ruhr region. “That a leading specialty chemicals company like Evonik is investing here in an ultra-modern production site shows that North Rhine-Westphalia is the number one chemical location in Germany and can compete at a global level. Singapore and other countries competed hard for this plant with tax benefits. In the end, the decision was for Marl because here we have the advantage of a network of competent chemical and energy companies. Plastic is a high-tech material and a resource of the future.”
Christian Kullmann highlights the significance of the new plant: “This is the biggest single investment our company has made in Germany. We’re building this plant because we want to continue to grow with innovative specialty chemical products. With our high-performance polymer PA 12 we can supply global strategic growth markets such as 3D printing. But also in the automotive industry, our light-weight and long-lasting plastic makes an important contribution to resource efficiency.”
Innovations are also the business of the invited startups and of the digitalization projects, which Claus Rettig, chairman of the management board of Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH, briefly introduced to those in attendance. “We want to become faster and more flexible when it comes to developing new, customized polymers to help our customers achieve strong growth. We need new technologies to do that, which is why we’ve taken consistent steps toward utilizing artificial intelligence,” says Rettig.