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July 18, 2014

Topsøe opens new sulfuric-acid-catalyst production plant in Texas

Gerald Ondrey

Haldor Topsøe A/S (Lyngby, Denmark; recently opened a new plant at its production site in Bayport, Texas, which is currently the company’s second largest in the world. The new plant is devoted to producing Topsøe’s VK portfolio of extruded catalysts that are used for the production of sulfuric acid.

The decision to build a new plant was made by Topsøe’s board of directors in 2012 because the company was not capable of meeting growing demand. Construction began during the spring of 2013 and production was successfully started in May of this year.

“The new VK plant has nearly doubled our production capacity and is designed for additional expansion in the future. It will become a global resource center for our company supplying primarily North America, but also the Chinese and South American markets and in a longer term perspective also Africa,” says Henrik Guldberg Petersen, group vice president for catalyst production in Topsøe.

According to Henrik the plant investment in Bayport also makes up an important prerequisite for the company’s overall strategic growth effort.

“In addition to the VK plant, we recently opened a major extension to our catalyst production plant in Frederikssund, Denmark in March and we are currently also building an automotive catalyst plant in China. In combination with the increased investments we are making in R&D, business development and manpower, these are important steps towards meeting our ambitious growth objectives,” says Henrik Guldberg Petersen.

Topsoe is a leading player worldwide in the field of catalysts for sulfuric acid production with a R&D track record that stretches back to when the company was founded in 1940. In fact, the first ever catalyst that Topsøe delivered to customers was a catalyst making it possible to speed up the production of sulfuric acid. The many years of development have made Topsøe’s VK catalyst portfolio increasingly efficient.

Since the mid-eighties, the VK catalyst portfolio has been expanded for use in a Topsøe process called Wet Gas Sulfuric Acid (WSA) which not only desulfurizes toxic gases, but also converts the sulfur waste into sulfuric acid. For customers, this is a definite advantage, because sulfuric acid is a widely used product that can be sold. In fact sulfuric acid is one of the most-used bulk chemicals in the world.

The unique WSA technology has a wide range of applications within air pollution control. It is used at steel plants, in the mining industry, and in industries where coal is gasified and converted into petrochemical products. It accounts for a significant share of revenue, and it continues to win new market shares worldwide – not least in China, where there is a strong demand for sulfuric acid.


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