Multifunctional compound acquires a new manufacturing facility

A sophisticated and energy-efficient plant in northern Spain is producing a chemical compound with myriad applications. The compound, an isomer known as isophthaloyl chloride (ICL), is used to make polymers and fibres.

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Located in the Asturias region, the plant is expected to produce close to 14 000 tonnes of the compound every year. It uses an ICL-manufacturing process not currently found anywhere else in Europe.

Key chemical compound

The polymers and fibres made from ICL are typically employed in applications requiring flame and/or chemical resistance, temperature stability, and flexibility. Professional racing drivers for example often wear fire-resistant clothes made of such fibres. ICL also soaks up water, making it an ideal stabiliser in urethane prepolymers: these are used in a wide range of coatings and adhesives.

Part funded by the EU, the DuPont ICL SL project is situated in the Tamon-Nubledo Valley, north of the city of Oviedo, Spain. It was given the go-ahead in late 2010, after meeting all necessary EU requirements – including local environmental impact. The goal was for DuPont, a global manufacturer of chemicals, to build a new ICL plant on its 350 hectare Tamon Valley site.

State-of-the-art process

Owned and run by DuPont Asturias SL, the new plant annually produces around 13 600 tonnes of ICL with a 99.5 % purity. It calls on a proprietary technology already used in the company’s Chamber Works site in the United States, a technology not used elsewhere in Europe to date.

The Asturias plant however features several enhancements. For instance it is more energy-efficient, in line with the company’s aim of reducing energy consumption. It also focuses on making ICL only, whereas DuPont’s US site produces two chemical compounds – ICL and TCL (terephthaloyl chloride) – and therefore has additional start-up and shut-down operating costs.

The Asturias ICL project directly created 27 new jobs during the new plant’s design and construction, and around 13 full-time jobs now that it is up and running.

Total and EU funding

The “DuPont ICL SL” project has a total eligible budget of EUR10 916 200, with the European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 7 641 400 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date