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Arkema partners with Nutrien in hydrogen fluoride supply deal

June 4, 2020
Energy & Chemical Value Chain

Arkema today announced a long-term partnership with Nutrien, the world’s largest integrated fertilizer company, for the supply of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride (AHF) to Arkema’s Calvert City, Kentucky, site.

The project will secure Arkema’s access to AHF, the main raw material used in fluorine chemistry. It supports the company’s growth of fluoropolymers in the water treatment, electronics, and batteries segments and offers greater environmental protection than more traditional production processes, the company says.

As part of the agreement, Arkema will invest $150 million to build a 40,000-metric tons/year AHF production plant at Nutrien’s Aurora, North Carolina, site, scheduled to start up in the first half of 2022. About half the capacity will be used in the production of polymers and fluoro derivatives, and the rest for the production of low-global-warming-potential fluorogases. AHF is used to make products including fluoropolymers and specialty derivatives.

The Aurora facility will produce AHF from naturally occurring fluoride that Nutrien will recover in the process of phosphate production and convert it to AHF, replacing the more usual source of mined fluorspar ore. Arkema says that this investment is the first of its type in the US and is in line with its new climate plan as it reduces overall energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The partnership will secure the supply of AHF at a stable and competitive price, and support the continuing development of new applications, notably for batteries, 5G electronics, and water treatment.

In its 2 April 2020 strategy update, Arkema said that it would explore possible alternatives to minimize its exposure to the most emissive applications of its fluorogases. The business comprises two separate operations. The specialty segment, with sales of about €200 million ($224.4 million) last year, is an essential contributor to Arkema’s fluoropolymers and fluoro derivatives business for electronics and batteries. The remaining fluorogases business with emissive applications, such air conditioning and refrigeration and which last year had sales of €500 million, will be divested or placed into partnerships, Arkema says.

By: Natasha Alperowicz

Source: Chemical Week

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