Solvay kicks off peracetic acid production in China

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hydrogen peroxide Solvay

Solvay's first Chinese plant for a key chemical disinfectant is now
fully operational, serving the growing Chinese market and spreading
the international chemical group's global reach ever further.

The new peracetic acid (PAA) plant adds to the company's existing global network of PAA manufacturing sites, currently comprised of facilities in Thailand, Australia, the Netherlands, Finland and Brazil.

Solvay was unwilling to disclose the production capacity of the new plant in the city of Suzhou, though the facility is intended to primarily serve the blossoming Chinese market and as such is likely to have significant production capabilities.

The company was similarly unwilling to provide details as to the financial investment made in establishing the new plant, though the figure would have been below the €10m threshold at which the firm is obliged to disclose the investment sum.

The new plant will be operated by Suzhou Crystal Clear Company, with whom Solvay also has an existing joint venture project, and would appear to have little direct competition in the immediate vicinity: "There are some smaller firms producing peracetic acid, but this is the first facility from a global company," a spokesperson from Solvay's PAA division told

Within the pharma industry, PAA is used primarily for disinfection and cleaning-in-place (CIP) applications, which allow process equipment to be sterilised on-site.

Disinfection is usually carried out by flushing the system with the acid and water, often at high temperatures.

Peracetic acid is said to be a more environmentally friendly disinfectant, with particular applications in aseptic filling, rinsing and CIP processes.

It's therefore used to clean storage tanks, piping systems and package packing drums, for example.

Growing emphasis on environmental factors and responsibilities within industry, along with more stringent disinfection regulations, are therefore helping to drive the growth of the PAA market.

PAA is also widely used for disinfection in the food and beverage packaging industry, and similar process equipment sterilisation.

Solvay had previously been serving the Chinese market by exporting from its main EU PAA production facility in Holland, but will now be able to serve its Chinese cusomters directly.

The group has been actively extending its global reach and already has a number of other operations located in China, including a speciality polymers business with R&D capacity and a hydrogen peroxide joint venture to serve the semiconductor industry.

"Our geographic expansion into the world's most dynamic economies is definitely a part of our strategy," a spokesperson for the company told

With low-cost regions such as China and other Asian destinations proving increasingly popular for pharmaceutical manufacturers and outsourcing activities, it is not surprising that Solvay has singled out this region as a target for investment.

The pharma industry represents a " significant and growing [market] " for the company according to a spokesperson from Solvay's PAA division, and the firm's moves into China are perhaps likely to benefit from the growing emphasis on cost-cutting measures that are driving manufacturers to seek out cheaper options and locations for their operations.

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