Evonik Commissions Pilot Catalyst Plant

Evonik announced yesterday the commissioning of a pilot plant for scale-up of hydrogenation catalysts for oils and fats at its site in Dombivli, India. Oil and fat catalysts developed at the site can be used in the production of lubricants and other oleochemicals.

The company said the pilot plant will enable the company to efficiently transfer production of catalysts that were developed on laboratory scale to plant scale. That allows large-scale production of catalysts complying with target specifications and that achieve desired performance, which the company noted is a challenge during scale-up.

With this pilot plant, we can now realize a target-oriented, fast and efficient scale-up of catalysts, Jitendra Chinthaginjala, research and development manager for Evonik Catalysts India, said in a news release. He added that the pilot planet will enable the company to improve its process know-how and significantly accelerate time-to-market for new products. This will also enable our customers to act faster and more flexibly in their respective markets, he added.

Dombivli has a dedicated research and development laboratory for three product groups in Evoniks catalysts business line: precious metal catalysts, activated metal catalysts and oil fat catalysts. The laboratory has unit operations for catalyst development and testing. The company said the pilot plant will enable it to supply customers with sufficient quantities of the new catalysts for commercial trials.

The oil and fat catalysts developed in Dombivli are sold globally under the Moncat brand name and are suitable for hydrogenation of vegetable or animal fats for a wide variety of applications. According to an Evonik brochure, Moncat products are supported reduced nickel catalysts embedded in hydrogenated vegetable oils. The catalysts are sold worldwide for hydrogenation of plant and animal oils and fats for manufacture of a variety of products, including soaps, oleochemicals, stearic acid and 12-hydroxy stearic acid. Hydroxystearic acid is widely used in manufacturing of lubricants, the company noted.