Annual Report 2022

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Creating tomorrow’s solutions

Integrated Production – Our Greatest Strength

The highly integrated material loops at its integrated production sites in Burghausen, Nünchritz, Charleston and Zhangjiagang give WACKER a key advantage. The basic principle of integrated production is to use the byproducts from one stage as starting materials for making other products. The auxiliaries required for this, such as silanes, are recycled in a closed loop. By taking waste heat from production processes and utilizing it for other chemical processes, we are reducing our consumption of energy and resources and using raw materials sustainably.

We are constantly working to optimize our integrated-production system. We also analyze and test ways of extending the circular economy so that we can feed materials from suppliers, customers and end consumers into this loop along with our own WACKER materials.

Our integrated production system encompasses the following:

  • Integrated energy solutions in which waste heat generated in production is used in downstream chemical processes. Examples here include using waste heat to generate steam, preheating feed water for the production of deionized water and using integrated heat-recovery systems in distillation processes
  • Integrated material systems, in which byproducts generated in a given process are treated and fed back into the production loop or serve as raw materials for other processes. Examples here include our integrated hydrogen chloride, silicon and acetic acid production systems

Our integrated production system is primarily based on rock salt, silicon, methanol, acetic acid and ethylene as starting materials. In integrated processes, we optimize material efficiency by purifying byproducts and reusing them or making them available for external use.

  • In our integrated ethylene production system, we use ethylene to obtain organic intermediates, which we then turn into polymer dispersions and dispersible polymer powders.
  • Our integrated silicon production system operates along similar lines. Although comprising only a small number of raw materials – silicon, methanol and salt (sodium chloride) – this system enables us to manufacture over 2,800 different silicone products, as well as pyrogenic silica and polysilicon.

A focus of our integrated production is to minimize hydrogen chloride (HCl) consumption. HCl is an essential auxiliary deployed in the production of reactive intermediates from energy-poor natural materials. We then use these intermediates to make our end products. Hydrogen chloride production requires a great deal of energy, however. In our integrated material loop, we convert chlorine-containing intermediates to chlorine-free end products (such as silicones, hyperpure silicon or pyrogenic silica) and in the process we obtain heating steam, thus recovering some of the original energy expended. We also reclaim hydrogen chloride here, which we return to the production loop and reuse. This closed material loop lowers emissions and, due to lower raw-material consumption, reduces shipments as well.

We use a chloralkali membrane process to supply chlorine, hydrogen, caustic soda and hydrogen chloride as starting materials to our Burghausen site. One example of how our integrated production system has the potential to save resources: We recycle 93 to 96 percent of the hydrogen chloride that we use in the production loops at our Burghausen and Nünchritz sites. More information can be found in our fact sheet:

Dispersible Polymer Powders
Created by drying dispersions in spray or disc dryers. VINNAPAS® polymer powders are recommended as binders in the construction industry, e.g. for tile adhesives, self-leveling compounds and repair mortars. They improve adhesion, cohesion, flexibility and flexural strength, as well as water-retention and processing properties.
Binary system in which one solid component is finely dispersed in another. VINNAPAS® dispersions are vinyl-acetate-based copolymers and terpolymers in liquid form. They are mainly used as binders in the construction industry, e.g. for grouts, plasters and primers.
Substance outputs, noise, vibrations, light, heat or radiation emitted into the environment by an industrial plant.
A colorless, slightly sweet-smelling gas that, under normal conditions, is lighter than air. It is needed as a chemical starting product for a great many synthetic materials, including polyethylene and polystyrene. It is used to make products for the household, agricultural, automotive and construction sectors, among others.
A polymer is a large molecule made up of smaller molecular units (monomers). It contains between 10,000 and 100,000 monomers. Polymers can be long or ball-shaped.
Hyperpure polycrystalline silicon from WACKER POLYSILICON is used for manufacturing wafers for the electronics and solar industries. To produce it, metallurgical-grade silicon is converted into liquid trichlorosilane, highly distilled and deposited in hyperpure form at 1,000 °C.
Silanes are used as monomers for the synthesis of siloxanes or sold directly as reagents or raw materials. Typical applications include surface treatment, agents (medically active substances) in pharmaceutical synthesis, and coupling agents for coatings.
Silica, Pyrogenic
White, synthetic, amorphous silicon dioxide (SiO2) in powder form, made by flame hydrolysis of silicon compounds. Variously used as an additive for silicone rubber grades, sealants, surface coatings, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
After oxygen, silicon is the most common element in the Earth’s crust. In nature, it occurs without exception in the form of compounds, chiefly silicon dioxide and silicates. Silicon is obtained through energy-intensive reaction of quartz sand with carbon and is the most important raw material in the electronics industry.
General term used to describe compounds of organic molecules and silicon. According to their areas of application, silicones can be classified as fluids, resins or rubber grades. Silicones are characterized by a myriad of outstanding properties. Typical areas of application include construction, the electrical and electronics industries, shipping and transportation, textiles and paper coatings.