On October 21, 2013, Evonik Industries started up a new plant for manufacturing biodiesel-production catalysts in Argentina.
Patrik Wohlhauser, the member of the Evonik Executive Board responsible for the South America Region, spoke at the dedication ceremony, where he underscored the importance of investment in South America: "We're investing in Argentina, because we want to take advantage of the opportunities for long-term success that the South American market has to offer. As one of the world's leading providers of biodiesel-production catalysts, we wish to continue consolidating and expanding our position," Wohlhauser remarked at the plant opening. He then added, "The investment is both a clear acknowledgment of our commitment in South America, as well as part of our strategy, which we hope will allow us to participate in the region's growth."
The new facilities will serve primarily the Argentine and Brazilian markets. Evonik located the plant on the same site as Terminal 6 S.A., which operates a large biodiesel facility.
As Jan Van den Bergh, president of Evonik's Advanced Intermediates Business Unit, explains, "Our aim in building the plant in Puerto General San Martín in the Rosario Region—in the heart of Argentina's biodiesel industry—is to supply our South American customers with locally produced, high-quality catalysts."
Evonik has proven expertise in the production of biodiesel catalysts, backed up by many years of experience. In 2009, the company started up a new production facility in Mobile, Alabama, USA, with a capacity of 60,000 metric tons p.a. Evonik products from this plant meet the demand for biodiesel on the North American market. Following the success of the new production technology in the United States, the same type of plant was built in Argentina. The new technology involves directly reacting alcohol with sodium hydroxide to produce alkoxides.
Evonik already ranks among the world leaders in biodiesel catalysts—a position it also holds in South America. "The new facility in Argentina will allow us to strengthen our business, both globally and within the region," explained Weber Ferreira Porto, the regional president for South America. "Our aim here is to participate in the development of the biodiesel market, which is forecast to experience positive growth over the medium term." Evonik is a global market leader in specialty catalysts for biodiesel production. In addition to its facilities in Argentina, the company also operates production sites in Niederkassel-Lülsdorf, near Cologne, Germany, and Mobile, Alabama, USA.