Press Releases - Wacker Chemie AG


Press Releases

WACKER Builds New Pyrogenic Silica Plant in the USA

  • WITH AN ANNUAL CAPACITY OF 13,000 METRIC TONS, THE NEW PRODUCTION FACILITY FOR PYROGENIC SILICA SUPPLEMENTS THE CHARLESTON SITE’S VALUE CHAIN
  • CONSTRUCTION WORK IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN IN SPRING OF 2017, WITH COMPLETION PLANNED FOR THE FIRST HALF OF 2019
  • CAPITAL EXPENDITURE OF SOME US$150 MILLION TO BE INVESTED AND AROUND 50 NEW JOBS TO BE CREATED
  • CEO RUDOLF STAUDIGL: “THE NEW PLANT IS THE NEXT LOGICAL STEP TOWARD EXPANDING CHARLESTON INTO A FULLY INTEGRATED SILICON SITE IN THE WORLD’S SECOND-LARGEST CHEMICAL MARKET”

Munich / Charleston, Dec 14, 2016

Wacker Chemie AG will build a new production plant for its HDK® brand of pyrogenic silica at its Charleston site in the US state of Tennessee. The Munich-based chemical company announced this today. The new facility, with an annual capacity of about 13,000 metric tons, is anticipated to involve capital expenditure of some US$150 million. Construction work will start in the second quarter of next year, with completion planned for the first half of 2019. This is expected to create some 50 new jobs at the Charleston site. WACKER already produces hyperpure polysilicon for the solar and semiconductor sectors in Charleston, with some 650 employees there.

Destillationskolonnen am Polysiliciumstandort Charleston
Distillation columns at the Charleston site in the US state of Tennessee, where WACKER produces hyperpure polysilicon for the solar sector. At its new pyrogenic silica plant, WACKER can further process the resultant tetrachlorosilane byproduct from polysilicon manufacturing into HDK® to create added value.

“The additional capacities strengthen our market position as a leading global producer of pyrogenic silica and help us to meet our customers’ growing demand,” said WACKER CEO Dr. Rudolf Staudigl. “The new plant is the next logical step toward expanding Charleston into a fully integrated silicon site in the world’s second-largest chemical market,” he explained, underscoring the investment’s strategic importance.

The new facility is a key addition to the Charleston site’s supply chain. The main byproduct of polysilicon manufacturing is tetrachlorosilane, which either has to be converted and fed back into the production loop or can be used to create added value by being further processed into HDK®. By integrating the polysilicon and HDK® production systems, as already operated at its Burghausen and Nünchritz sites in Germany, WACKER achieves maximum flexibility in the reprocessing of tetrachlorosilane, avoids the need to dispose of waste products, and thereby enhances the efficiency of the integrated production system as a whole.

WACKER produces HDK® pyrogenic silica at Burghausen and Nünchritz in Germany and Zhangjiagang in China. The Munich-based chemical company is the world’s third-largest manufacturer in this sector. Ultrapure amorphous silicon dioxide powder is used as a filler in silicone elastomers and as a rheology-control additive in paints, adhesives, unsaturated polyester resins and plastisols. It also serves as a flow aid in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food-processing industries.

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