Lanxess is building the world’s largest plant for EPDM synthetic rubber in China.

Lanxess will use Keltan ACE technology to enable sustainable production at its new plant. In comparison to conventional technology, the Keltan ACE catalyst technology reduces energy requirements for production and it does not require catalyst extraction as a result of high catalyst efficiency. Furthermore, the process enables the manufacture of new EPDM rubber grades, such as oil-extended EPDM and special high molecular weight EPDM. The new plant will produce in total ten premium grades of EPDM tailored to Chinese customer needs.

Lanxess already operates EPDM production sites in Geleen, the Netherlands, Marl, Germany, Orange, USA and Triunfo, Brazil, with a combined capacity of 320,000 metric tons per annum. Lanxess plans to convert 50 percent of its total production capacity at the Geleen site to Keltan ACE technology in 2013.

EPDM is used above all in the automotive industry as door sealants or windscreen wipers. According to Lanxess estimates, approximately seven kilograms of EPDM is used in every car. The product is also used in the plastics modification, cable and wire, construction and oil additives industries. Its properties include very low density, good resistance to heat, oxidation, chemicals and weathering as well as good electrical insulation properties.

Since the end of last year, Lanxess has been commercially producing EPDM from bio-based ethylene and marketing it under the brand Keltan Eco. Lanxess is using ethylene supplied by Braskem S.A. In comparison to petroleum-based ethylene, Braskem’s ethylene is produced by dehydrating ethanol from sugar cane.

China is a cornerstone of Lanxess’ global growth strategy. The company is targeting sales of more than one billion EUR in Greater China (mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao) in 2012. All of Lanxess’ 13 business units are represented at 10 sites in Greater China, with roughly 1,000 employees in total.

Lanxess will be holding its first-ever “Mobility Day” in Shanghai on September 6. Under the motto “Sustainable Technologies for China’s Future”, the company will be showcasing its latest products geared towards “Green Mobility”.

Around 400 participants from industry, academia and associations will exchange ideas and discuss topics such as “Green Tires”, lightweight plastics, sustainable leather management, technical rubbers and battery technology.

Lanxess achieved sales of some EUR 1.5 billion – around 17 percent of total sales – with products and technologies for "Green Mobility" in 2011. And the company expects this figure to rise by 80 percent to about EUR 2.7 billion in 2015.