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Evonik Examining Construction of a Methyl Mercaptan Plant in the USA


Evonik Industries AG is proceeding on schedule with its preparations for closely examining the construction of a methyl mercaptan plant at its site in Theodore, Alabama, USA. The results of the basic engineering and feasibility studies will be available in the coming months, and tax relief for the project in Alabama has already been approved, too. Evonik intends to make a decision on the construction of the plant this year. The investment volume is expected to amount to some $65 million. Methyl mercaptan is a building block for the amino acid DL-methionine, which is produced at Evonik's site in Theodore.

Dr. Klaus Engel, member of the Executive Board of Evonik Industries responsible for the Chemicals Business Area, comments: "Our methionine activities are a significant part of our specialty chemicals portfolio. By expanding backward integration, we seek to strengthen this business consistently further." The concept of backward integration includes supplying Evonik's DL-methionine plants with all key intermediates such as acrolein and methyl mercaptan from in-house production. Evonik has been successfully doing this at its DL-methionine facilities in Antwerp (Belgium) and Wesseling (Germany).

Evonik anticipates that building the plant in Theodore could bring substantial savings in production and freight costs. The ability to integrate the methyl mercaptan plant directly into the present acrolein production could leverage further synergies. "We see the plans for a methyl mercaptan facility as preparation for expanding DL-methionine capacity further in Theodore," says Engel.

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