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Evonik expands production capacity for SEPURAN membranes in Schörfling

Germany-headed global specialty chemicals major Evonik Industries AG has announced that its Austria-based subsidiary, Evonik Fibres GmbH, is building a new hollow fibre spinning plant for the production of gas separation membranes at its Austrian site in Schörfling am Attersee. With the new capacity, the Group aims to meet the strong demand for SEPURAN membranes in biogas, nitrogen, hydrogen, and natural gas applications.

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Evonik Fibres GmbH is building a new hollow fibre spinning plant for the production of gas separation membranes at its Austrian site in Schörfling am Attersee. With the new capacity, the Group aims to meet the strong demand for SEPURAN membranes in biogas, nitrogen, hydrogen, and natural gas applications (photo courtesy Evonik).

According to a statement, Evonik is investing a low-double-digit EUR million in the new plant, which is scheduled to come on stream in the first quarter of 2023. Around 30 new jobs will be created in Schörfling.

The gas separation market is convinced of our innovative membrane technology. Having developed and established the biogas industry in close cooperation with our partners, we are establishing our SEPURAN membranes as the new standard for efficient gas separation in demanding nitrogen, hydrogen, and natural gas applications. The additional production capacities will secure our growth targets in these important markets for us, said Dr Goetz Baumgarten, Head of the Membranes Innovation Growth Field at Evonik.

Becoming the market leader for separation membranes

The new hollow fibre spinning plant is a construction twin of the production line that Evonik started up in 2017. In it, a high-performance polymer is processed into fine hollow fibres in several process steps. They are at the heart of SEPURAN membrane technology.

Evonik is the world’s only backward-integrated manufacturer of highly selective gas separation membranes. The specialty chemicals company draws on its many years of expertise in polymer chemistry and adjusts key membrane properties already at the development stage of the base material—the high-performance polymer—to produce particularly selective and robust membranes that can withstand extreme pressures and temperatures.

By expanding our capacities in Schörfling, we are sending an important signal to our customers that Evonik believes in the markets in the future and will continue to support customers’ growth. The construction of the new hollow fibre spinning plant also testifies to our clear ambition to become the market leader in membrane-based separation technologies in the coming years, said Dr Iordanis Savvopoulos, Head of the Fibres, Foams and Membranes Product Line at Evonik.

Polymer-based membrane technology for gas separation

SEPURAN membranes make it possible to separate gases such as methane (CH4), nitrogen (N2), or hydrogen (H2) from gas mixtures. According to the company, the advantages of its membrane technology are more precise separation of the gases and higher productivity. SEPURAN N2 membranes for efficient nitrogen generation are used, for example, in inert aircraft tanks.

SEPURAN Noble membranes extract hydrogen transported through natural gas pipelines selectively from the CH4/H2 gas mixture at the delivery points. SEPURAN NG membranes enable efficient natural gas processing from gas sources with high CO2 concentrations.

Close to the Schörfling site in Lenzing, Upper Austria, the base material – the high-performance polymer polyimide – is produced and processed into fine hollow fibers in Schörfling.

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