Elkem, a global leader in silicone-based advanced materials, has today announced a strategic investment plan to unlock a new speciality silicones supply for customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and the Americas. The company will invest around €36M (NOK350M) to upgrade and debottleneck its silicone upstream plant in Roussillon, France.
The board of directors has approved a 20,000 metric tons capacity expansion, bringing the effective silicone intermediates capacity from Elkem’s upstream plant in Roussillon, France to 100,000 metric tons per annum, while delivering productivity, cost, sustainability and climate protection improvements.
“At a time when silicones and their raw materials are in shortage, the expansion is cornerstone to meeting the future needs of our specialty silicones customers in EMEA and the Americas, where the market is expected to grow by around 6% per year between 2020 and 2025,” said Frédéric Jacquin, Senior Vice President in charge of Elkem’s Silicones Division. “This investment complements the ongoing capacity expansion at our Xinghuo site in China, which primarily serves growth in the Asia Pacific region and further strengthens our cost position as well as environmental performance.”
Speciality silicones bring unique properties and performances to a wide panel of cutting-edge and sustainability-aligned markets – from electric and hybrid vehicles to semi-conductors, decarbonised energies, 3D printing, healthcare & medical devices, aerospace, defence, or sustainable buildings.
The investment plan includes installing new equipment and major technology upgrades in key parts of the plant to improve Elkem Roussillon’s cost position and environmental performance, through higher materials efficiency, more energy efficient processes, reduced waste, and state-of-the-art water effluents treatment. It is the largest organic investment project in Elkem’s European silicones franchise in a decade. It is anticipated to come online during Q3 of 2023.
The decision confirms the strategic importance of the Rhône Valley for Elkem’s silicones division, after the company announced an agreement to acquire a third manufacturing site in the area, and the opening of a new global research & innovation centre over the past few months.
It also highlights Elkem’s commitment to the Roussillon chemical platform, which is undergoing landmark transformations to protect its competitiveness and decarbonise its operations, thanks to dynamic partnerships between industrial and local stakeholders – including Elkem.