Lanxess Invests 30 M Euros in Membrane Production Facility

Lanxess Sybron Chemicals Inc.'s affiliate, Lanxess AG, is building a new chemical plant at its site in Bitterfeld, Germany, which will produce membrane filtration technology. This marks the specialty chemicals group’s move into a new segment of the water treatment business.

The company is investing about 30 million euros in the project. By the end of 2010, the plant should be in its pilot and development phase. The first products should be launched on the market in 2011, according to the company's press release. An area totaling some 4,000 square meters has been set aside for the creation of high-tech laboratories, logistics areas, offices and a new, state-of-the-art production facility.

By moving into this new field of technology, the company is opening up further areas of application in water treatment. The volume of the global membrane market alone is currently estimated at around 1 billion euros, and this figure is set to rise further.

“Usable water supplies are dwindling worldwide, thus becoming an increasingly valuable resource. Thanks to Lanxess’ pioneering investment in Bitterfeld, we are now able to offer additional products for water treatment and thus further strengthen our strong market position,” explained Axel C. Heitmann, chair of the Board of Management of Lanxess AG. “Our high-tech products, such as the powerful Lewatit® ion exchange resins, are already helping to ease global water problems today.”

The company also is building a plant for ion exchange resins in Jhagadia, India, which is scheduled to begin operation later this year. It will be used, among other things, to supply products for the production of ultrapure water for the semiconductor and pharmaceuticals industries, for industrial water treatment, for food production and for power generation..

At the Bitterfeld site, some 80 employees have been producing high-performance ion exchange resins for over 10 years through the subsidiary IAB Ionenaustauscher GmbH. The high-tech resins produced there are used in the fields of water treatment, power generation, microelectronics, and the drinking water and food preparation industries. The broad range of applications for these small beads of resin includes, for example, the decalcification or desalination of water in dishwashers and the decarbonization or extraction of heavy metals from drinking water in water filters.

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