Press release
Corporate Press
April 28, 2009

Evonik Continues to Develop Alcoholate Business in the Biodiesel Market

  • Evonik starts up new plant in Mobile, Alabama, USA
  • Demand for biodiesel expected to increase 

MOBILE, Alabama, USA, April 28, 2009. Just nine months after laying the cornerstone, Evonik has dedicated a new production plant for sodium methylate in Mobile, in the U.S. state of Alabama. With an annual capacity of 60,000 metric tons, the plant will supply a ready-to-use catalyst for biodiesel production from natural oils such as rapeseed (canola) and soybean oil. The plant is expected to satisfy the demand of the growing North American biodiesel market. The main drivers of the increasing demand are legislative initiatives in the U.S., which have been prompted by the CO2 debate and rising crude oil prices and are expected to be implemented in the near future. With its specialty catalyst for biodiesel production, Evonik is already the world market leader in the field.

"With the new plant, we’re continuing our strategy of strengthening business in markets where Evonik already enjoys a leading position and expects long-term growth," says Dr. Klaus Engel, chairman of the Executive Board of Evonik Industries. "In view of the intensive debate on climate protection, we anticipate clear, double-digit growth for the biodiesel market over the medium term."

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 the benefit of customers facing high fossil-fuel prices. Evonik’s sodium methylate catalyst offers customers consistently high biodiesel yields and an especially high degree of purity for the crude glycerol obtained as a byproduct, which can also be sold. As the global leader for specialty catalysts for biodiesel production, the company already operates a plant at the German site of Niederkassel-Lülsdorf near Cologne.

Jose Berges, general manager Electrolysis Products & Alkoxides, said of the new facility: "Evonik Industries is committed to sustainable energy generation and the new plant is testimony to this commitment. We are excited that it will produce the catalysts that are vital for biodiesel production in North America. The plant will not only benefit the biodiesel industry and our customers, but will also promote global environmental sustainability."

Stefan Welbers, general manager, Electrolysis Products, North America, added: "The issue of sustainability—and therefore of biodiesel—is extremely important for future generations. Biodiesel is an eco-friendly fuel obtained entirely from renewable raw materials such as soybean oil. Biodiesel is biodegradable and nontoxic, and is distinguished by low sulfur emissions. We’re proud of contributing to environmental protection through our chemicals, such as these catalysts that can help the biodiesel industry toward greater efficiency and increasing success."

Company Information

Evonik Industries is the creative industrial group from Germany which operates in three business areas: Chemicals, Energy and Real Estate. Evonik is a global leader in specialty chemicals, an expert in power generation from hard coal and renewable energies, and one of the largest private residential real estate companies in Germany. Our strengths are creativity, specialization, continuous self-renewal, and reliability. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In its fiscal year 2008 about 41,000 employees generated sales of about €15.9 billion and an operating profit EBITDA of about €2.2 billion.


In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.