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Expansion of Brazilian Chlorine and Caustic Soda Facility to Get Underway

Expansion of Brazilian Chlorine and Caustic Soda Facility to Get Underway

  • 25-Nov-2021
  • Journalist: Peter Schmidt

Brazil’s petrochemical products major, Unipar Indupa S.A.I.C, which is a subsidiary arm of Solvay, is in plans to expand the production capacity at its Santo Andre plant which is dedicated to the production of chlorine and caustic soda.

The planned increment in the annual production output will be by 29,000 tonnes for chlorine and 32,000 tonnes for caustic soda. USD 17.9 million will be invested in the construction and installation of a new hydrochloric acid production furnace of 91,000 tonnes per year capacity, which forms a vital part of the project blueprint. The commissioning of the new furnace is scheduled for the second half of 2023.

As a broader picture, Unipar Grupo intends to enhance the overall Brazilian production capacities of hydrochloric acid, chlorine, and caustic soda to 755,000 tonnes, 545,000 tonnes, and 615,000 tonnes per annum.

Caustic soda, chemically known as sodium hydroxide, is a strong alkali that is extensively used in the manufacturing of detergents, paper/pulp, alumina, and other important chemicals. Its wide applications serve a range of end-user industries which include domestic cleaning, textiles, water treatment, metal processing, mining, glass making, etc.

As per ChemAnalyst, the increase in the annual production will contribute to delivering adequate caustic soda supply to the downstream sectors. Since Unipar Indupa itself is a producer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), enhancement in its chlorine productions will ensure an undisrupted supply of chlorine feedstock to PVC plants. Furthermore, the stable caustic soda supply-demand channel that would be established with the commissioning of the planned project is anticipated to lower down the dependency of Brazil and neighbouring South American regions on imports from the USA, Europe and Asia, a direct effect of which is expected to be seen in the form of stable caustic soda prices.

It is important to note that Unipar Indupa was compelled to curtail 50% of its caustic soda production at Cubatao and Santo Andre facilities during the pandemic period owing to weak demand and low margins. Post-recovery the decision for expansion of chlorine and caustic soda facilities by Unipar Indupa is expected to promote the company’s visibility and ranking in the competitive Latin American market.

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