Japanese technology company Asahi Kasei is launching a demonstration trial of a rental service for chlor-alkali electrolysis cells in Europe with Nobian GmbH and LOGISTEED Europe B.V. Headquartered in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Headquartered in Gelderland, the Netherlands, LOGISTEED Europe is a leading logistics company with more than 10 sites in 6 countries in Europe.
For more than 45 years since commercializing its membrane process for chlor-alkali electrolysis in 1975, Asahi Kasei has earned a strong reputation among customers for offering superior operating performance and reliability as a supplier of all technological elements of the process, including ion-exchange membranes, electrolysis cells, electrodes and plant operation expertise. Global demand for chlor-alkali in 2022 was approximately 100 MMt, and Asahi Kasei’s chlor-alkali process has been adopted at more than 150 plants in 30 countries as of November 2023, with a total capacity of over 30 MMtpy converted to 100% caustic soda, making Asahi Kasei a leading global process supplier.
The membrane process for chlor-alkali electrolysis produces chlorine, H2 and caustic soda by electrolyzing brine using ion-exchange membranes. It eliminates the need to use environmentally hazardous mercury or asbestos as process materials and enables greater energy efficiency. The combination of low-voltage membranes and electrolyzers developed with advanced Asahi Kasei technology reduces CO2 emissions by lowering power consumption in the electrolysis process.
When performing maintenance on electrolysis cells, customers of Asahi Kasei’s process need to remove the cells to a maintenance site for a considerable period of time, during which production is suspended. This is often followed by high-load operation to make up for the lost production once maintenance is completed, resulting in higher electricity costs. Customers can, by renting replacement electrolysis cells from Asahi Kasei when repairing their own equipment, maintain production capacity or benefit from maximal flexibility by using state of art high performing electrodes enabling lower electricity costs. The replacement cells are maintained at Asahi Kasei’s certified repair sites after each use, and then reused among multiple customers in Europe. Furthermore, as customers would not need to own and maintain spare cells that are effectively idle assets at most times, the total amount of precious metals used in Europe can be reduced.
Having partnered with Asahi Kasei for more than 40 years, Nobian is at the forefront of chlor-alkali electrolysis with consideration for the environment, while LOGISTEED Europe has a track record in Europe of more than 30 years. In the rental service demonstration trial, Asahi Kasei and Nobian will identify operational issues and optimize the content of the service. LOGISTEED Europe will provide storage sites for the electrolysis cells and advance the establishment of reverse logistics between customers and the storage sites. Commercialization of the rental service is targeted in 2025. Moving forward, Asahi Kasei plans to expand the rental service to Asia and North America and enhance services by integrating the system development capabilities of Recherche 2000 Inc. acquired in February 2020, in order to expand efforts on the circular economy of precious metals and other metals from reducing and reusing to recycling electrolysis cells and electrodes.