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Evonik expands capacities for petrochemical specialties

| By Scott Jenkins

Evonik (Marl, Germany; has invested a double-digit million euro sum to increase production capacity for isobutene derivatives at its Marl location. The isobutene part of the C4 production network produces the petrochemical specialties tertiary butanol (TBA), di-isobutene (DiB) and 3,5,5-trimethylhexanal (TMH). The expansion, which was recently completed, increases capacity for isobutene derivatives by more than 50 percent. In addition, the expansion improves security of supply, flexibility and product quality for the customers.

Evonik’s isobutene specialties are already in high demand as intermediates for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. “As a leading European key supplier of high-purity isobutene derivatives, we willingly rise to the challenge of supporting our customers’ dynamic growth and continuing to invest in product quality and security of supply,” says Dr. Hinnerk Gordon Becker, head of the Specialties market segment at Evonik Performance Intermediates. “That’s why, in June 2020, we already began the targeted expansion of our C4 Verbund and to eliminate existing bottlenecks in production and logistics. In this way, we are further expanding our position in the field of high-purity isobutene derivatives and also living up to our leadership role,” Becker continues.

The conversion work has increased the purity of the 3,5,5-Trimethylhexanal produced in Marl from around 88 to more than 95 percent. Customers will benefit from this: In future, they will be able to use the isobutene derivative directly in their own production process without having to purify it first.

Along with the capacity expansion, the business line is also optimizing logistics to meet customer needs even better. “In the course of the expansion, we have taken extensive measures to significantly increase both production and delivery flexibility. We are currently also working on optimally serving highly specialized customer industries with smaller requirements, such as those in the field of flavors and fragrances. This opens up completely new applications for our petrochemical specialties,” Becker continues.

Tertiary butanol is available from Evonik in two grades: pure, or as an azeotropic mixture. It is used to produce organic peroxides for the plastics industry and special solvents and tablet coatings for the pharmaceutical industry.

Di-isobutene is a highly branched C8 molecule. It is an important intermediate used to produce UV stabilizers, high performance lubricants and special polymer resins.

3,5,5-Trimethylhexanal is an aldehyde with high isomeric purity. The intermediate is used to produce high-performance lubricants (especially cooling lubricants) and lubricant additives, as well as specialty products for the cosmetics and fragrances industries.