Ethoxylation is an industrial process in which ethylene oxide is added to alcohols and phenols to give surfactants. Alcohol ethoxylates (AE) and Alcohol Ethoxysulfates (AES) are non-ionic surfactants found in products such as cosmetics.
"Ethoxylated products including Polyetylene Glycols are a cornerstone of our growth strategy, especially for the fast growing markets in the Americas with their greater demand for personal and home care products," explains Michael Willome, Head of the Business Unit Industrial & Consumer Care (ICS).
Following the first expansion in 2012, now already fully utilized, Clariant says this investment will provide the necessary further capacity to continue profitable growth of the Business Unit ICS in North America and Latin America.
"The investment is another important step in the implementation of our business strategy focusing on profitable growth. With the expansion, we can increase our market share in markets with good growth potential,” says Hariolf Kottmann, CEO.
The expansion includes new reactors and additional storage facilities, bringing the overall ethoxylation capacity to more than 125,000 metric tons from 95,000 metric tons at present.
Products manufactured include High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Glycols (PEGs), alcohol ethoxylates, sodium isethionates and ethoxylated specialties.
The current expansion brings the total investment over the last five years to CHF 65 million ($72 million). The new plant will go online in mid-2015.
Aside from the personal care segments that will benefit from the site expansion, the products from Clear Lake are also used in home, textile, construction and other industrial applications.