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Evonik Launches New Sodium Methylate Plant in Alabama

April 30, 2009
Evonik Degussa Corp. has dedicated its 60,000 metric ton facility in Mobile, Alabama that produces a ready-to-use catalyst, essential in the manufacture of biodiesel produced from natural oils such as rapeseed or soybean oil.

Senior company executives joined with local business, political leaders, community representatives, and employees to open the facility that was constructed in less than 12 months.

“Evonik Industries is dedicated to sustainable energy and this new plant represents that commitment,” said Jose Berges, Evonik vice president and general manager electrolysis products and alkoxides. “We are excited that this new facility will manufacture catalysts vital to the production of biodiesel in North America. This innovative unit is a strategic element of Evonik’s ongoing commitment not only to the biodiesel industry and our customers but also to global environmental sustainability.”

The biodiesel market in the U.S. has tremendous growth potential despite the very serious challenges it faces today, according to Dr. Thomas Haeberle, member of the board of management of Evonik Degussa GmbH. “With this strategic investment we are well positioned to support both our customers and the long term growth of the U.S. biodiesel market,” said Haeberle.

Sustainability--particularly biodiesel--is important not only for the present, but also for future generations, according to Stefan Welbers, Evonik vice president and general manager, North America, Electrolysis Products. “Biodiesel is a clean-burning fuel made entirely from renewable resources such as soybean oil,” said Welbers. “Accepted by the EPA as a viable alternative to petro-diesel, biodiesel is environmentally friendly, biodegradable, low in sulfur emissions and non-toxic. Evonik is extremely proud to help make the world a better place through chemistry such as our catalysts essential to an efficient and effective biodiesel industry.”

The new facility leverages the cost and quality advantages of the Mobile site and supports the development of a world class biodiesel industry in the U.S. to benefit consumers faced with high fossil fuel prices.

“We are pleased to celebrate the opening of this biodiesel plant with the community and our employees,” said Tom Bates, president of Evonik Degussa Corp. and general manager of the Mobile site. “This is a timely boost for the site and clearly demonstrates the critical role Evonik will play in an industry that is contributing to environmental progress, energy independence, and sustainable energy.”

Evonik’s sodium methylate catalyst offers customers consistently high yields and the high purity of the crude glycerol obtained as a byproduct.

Evonik's Chemicals business is a world market leader in specialty catalysts required in biodiesel production.

The opening ceremony was attended by nearly 100 employees, political and economic leaders, and guests.

With approximately 700 workers, the site is one of the area’s largest employers. It manufactures a wide range of products that create the essentials necessary to enjoy a better standard of living today and tomorrow.

For more information, visit www.evonik.com.