2021-11-15

Thriving under (high) pressure

Consistently strong demand for hydrogenation at Saltigo

Leverkusen, November 15, 2021 – What do a highly effective disinfectant, anindustrial lubricant, and the well-known insect repellent Saltidin (icaridin) have incommon? Hydrogenation is a key step in the synthesis sequences of all of thesesubstances. Saltigo GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of the specialty chemicalscompany LANXESS, produces hundreds of tons of these products and theirprecursors each year. “Our flexible campaign management enables us to fulfill alarge number of customer requests even when demand is high,” explains Dr.Claus Dreisbach, Hydrogenation Plant Manager at Saltigo.

Hydrogenation with gaseous hydrogen that often takes place in a pressurizedenvironment and sometimes at high temperatures is one of the corecompetencies of the Leverkusen-based specialist in exclusive synthesis. Saltigohas many decades of experience in this area and a modern, efficient productionbase in order to carry out numerous variants of these reactions safely, also on alarge scale.

Large campaigns preferred

The hydrogenation plant focuses on substances with an annual productionvolume of between 100 and 2,000 tons (t). “Campaigns of between 100 and600 tons are the most fun,” says Dreisbach with a wink, before justifying thisfocus: “Our equipment is optimally designed for that volume, which makes formaximum productivity.” But smaller campaigns of between 20 and 100 t areregularly on the production schedule. In total, the plant produced well over5,000 t of hydrogenated products last year. It also manufactures according to the“just in time” principle: always aligned with the individual requirements ofcustomers as well as the availability of raw materials and equipment. Thisenables high storage costs to be avoided throughout the supply chain.

The hydrogenation reactions that are generally catalyzed with transition metals ortheir complexes can be applied to a wide variety of feedstocks and createproducts with a high level of purity and a high yield for the most part. In this way,olefins and polyolefins are turned into saturated hydrocarbons, aromatic or heteroaromatic compounds are turned into cycloaliphates, and aldehydes or ketones and imines or nitriles, respectively, are turned into alcohols or amines, for example.

Pressure vessel is the centerpiece

At the heart of the hydrogenation plant are two pressure-resistant reaction vessels as well as a cascade of pressure vessels that enables continuous production. The reaction pressures can be as high as 180 bar at temperatures of up to 320 °C. A separate tank farm as well as numerous processing systems for isolating the target components are effectively integrated in the plant.

“Hydrogenation with hydrogen including the asymmetric reaction variants are part of the established technological portfolio of many a provider of exclusive synthesis. It is indispensable for manufacturing a wide variety of important chemical agents and intermediates. However, carrying out reactions like these safely and efficiently, especially on a large scale, is anything but trivial. That is where our many years of experience pay dividends,” says Dreisbach in summing up. Adherence to the quantities and delivery dates stipulated are other important arguments for choosing an experienced, reliable synthesis partner.

Detailed information on Saltigo’s products and services can be found online at saltigo.com.

Saltigo GmbH is a leading supplier in the field of custom synthesis. This wholly owned subsidiary of specialty chemicals group LANXESS AG is part of the Advanced Intermediates segment, which generated sales of EUR 1,204 million in fiscal 2007. Saltigo, headquartered in Langenfeld and with production facilities in Leverkusen and Dormagen, employs around 1,400 staff worldwide. LANXESS Corporation has established a new site in Redmond, Washington, United States, to strengthen Saltigo’s expanding pharmaceuticals business.

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