Starting from April, FORTISCHEM a.s. produces hydrogen, chlorine and sodium hydroxide by means of a new membrane electrolysis plant supplied by ThyssenKrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers (Japan) Ltd. Membrane elektrolysis replaced the old mercury electrolysis. The new plant is environmentally friendly, saves both financial and human resources, and is one of the world’s leading best available technologies.

Although the membrane electrolysis project had been in development since 2012, it was necessary to implement it within a period of several months, taking into account the aforementioned unexpected change of EU regulations. Based on Regulation (EU) No. 2017/852 of the European Parliament and the Council on mercury, our facility had to discontinue its production using mercury electrolysis by December 12, 2017. At the same time, the company had to build a new plant and commission it as soon as possible.

The membrane electrolysis plant was completed in eight months and in March 2018 it was ready for trial operation. The components and materials were supplied by vendors and experts from Japan, Germany, Italy, Canada, France and Slovakia. All the engineering works and assembly of technological units were carried out by FORTISCHEM a.s. in liaison with Chemstroj, s.r.o..

The plant was built using components hailed as the Rolls-Royce of their category. At its full operating capacity, it will produce 75,000 tonnes of pure sodium hydroxide per year. However, with full digitisation and automation fewer control operators are required at a comparable annual production volume.  In addition, the new membrane electrolysis is more energy efficient and optimises the entire maintenance process.

By investing over €30 million and launching the new plant’s full operation, FORTISCHEM a. s. has placed Slovakia and the country’s chemical industry among the EU’s leading countries in the chlor-alkali sector, ensuring sustainable development in line with environmental legislation and the requirements of the modern age.  At the same time, the company has taken a necessary step in terms of upgrading its production facilities and has maintained its own source of a key raw material needed to achieve its core business vision in the field of polymers and across its broad product application range.