Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dow Corning, Wacker Chemie start production at $1.2B silicon plant

November 18, 2008

Chinese plant expects to produce pyrogenic silica and siloxane, upstream products for silicon used in solar, construction, automotive, electronics and other industries.

Munich, Germany-based Wacker Chemie (Frankfurt:WCH.F) and Michigan's Dow Corning have started production in the first stage of their pyrogenic silica and siloxane plants in Zhangjiagang, China.

The 1 million square-meter site in the Jiangsu Yangtze River Chemical Industrial Park represents an investment of about $1.2 billion. The complex is producing upstream materials for silicon, which is then used in construction, automotive, electronics, beauty products, healthcare, utilities, solar, textile, and paper.

Wacker and Dow Corning plan to jointly operate the facilities. Separate plants at the complex will manufacture finished silicon products, the companies said.

The complex has the combined capacity to produce 200,000 metric tons of siloxane and pyrogenic silica a year, with full capacity expected to be reached at the end of 2010. The companies said the facility is the largest of its kind in China.

The companies said the integrated facilities operate in a loop to reduce emissions and improve efficiency. The siloxane plant produces chlorosilane, which is used to make pyrogenic silica, while the pyrogenic silica plant has a byproduct of hydrogen chloride, which is used in the production of siloxane.

Dow Corning is a joint venture equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) and Corning (NYSE:GLW).

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