Solvay S.A. has concluded an agreement with the Chinese soda ash producer Tianjin Soda Ash Plant under which Solvay will invest €16 million in two steps to acquire a 30 % participation in the soda ash plant built in Bin Hai near the city of Tianjin, China. Solvay will also provide guarantees on loans, bringing the total committed and invested amount to almost €60 million.
The plant with a yearly capacity of 800,000 t soda ash and related products such as bicarbonate and 800,000 t of ammonium chloride will be fully operational by the middle of this year. Solvay will commercialize 220,000 metric t soda ash and 30,000 metric t bicarbonate yearly under its own brand name.
Tianjin Soda Ash plant uses – instead of the Solvay or ammonia-soda process developed by Ernest Solvay during the 1860s – a production process developed by their Chinese chemist Hou Debang in the 1930s. It does not generate calcium chloride as a byproduct, but ammonium chloride, which is mainly used in the Chinese fertilizer market and also after refining for several technical end-uses.