Evonik has invested €25m to develop and expand its methylmercapto-propionaldehyde (MMP) production plant in Wesseling, Germany, in what it said is the latest move to strengthen its world-scale global methionine production network.
The capital was used to upgrade the production process at the plant as well as to increase efficiency and safety at the site. The upgrade means chemical intermediates, such as acrolein, will no longer need to be stored at the site.
"Even when not in use, hazardous chemicals can still pose a risk. Some can cause or contribute to a fire or explosion, they can injure people or damage property, if they are not stored safely. Therefore, substituting hazardous chemicals and reducing or eliminating inventories will increase plant safety," said a spokesperson.
MMP is integral in the production of MetAMINO (DL-methionine), an amino acid used in animal feed. The precursors of that amino acid have been produced in Wesseling for over 50 years.
Dr Gaetano Blanda, head of the animal nutrition business line, Evonik said the move safeguards the long-term supply of MMP to the producer’s MetAMINO production hub in Belgium. In terms of impact of the upgrade on volumes, the spokesperson told us the Wesseling site will produce raw materials according to the needs of the methionine plant in Antwerp.
“This investment is a building block of our global methionine asset strategy with the clear goal of being the cost and technology leader in all regions," added Dr Jan-Olaf Barth, head of the essential nutrition product line at the German firm.
Evonik’s methionine production assets are located in three global production hubs covering Europe (Antwerp, Belgium), Asia (Singapore) and the Americas (Mobile, Alabama).
Last year saw it announce plans to build a methyl mercaptan plant in Mobile, Alabama in the US. That plant is scheduled to come on stream in the second half of 2024, and the investment budget for the build is around €150m (US$168.3m).
Liquid methionone facility
Looking to other recent methionine market developments and, in September 2022, Adisseo’s high volume liquid methionine plant went online.
A subsidiary of China National BlueStar, Adisseo said the facility in Nanjing, China (BANC2) is one of the world's largest liquid methionine production platforms.
The new plant, it continued, consolidates its position in methionine globally while laying a solid industrial foundation for boosting the penetration of liquid methionine in the Chinese market and beyond.