Skip Navigation

Chemical, Energy, 2013-06-12, 02:21 PM

Commercial launch of new technology from thyssenkrupp Uhde and Bayer

Climate-friendly chlorine production reduces energy consumption

A new technology from thyssenkrupp and Bayer that is now being launched commercially worldwide enables the production of chlorine with significantly less electricity. The process reduces the very large amount of energy required to obtain the important chemical by as much as 30 percent compared with conventional processes. Its widespread use would enable economically significant savings of energy.

The new oxygen depolarized cathode (ODC) technology is used for the electrolysis of table salt, by which means 95 percent of all chlorine is produced. The element is a central basic material in the chemical industry and is required for some two-thirds of all products, including plastics, medicines and crop protection agents.

The ODC technology successfully completed two years of industrial-scale trial operation. Performed in a demonstration plant at Bayer’s Krefeld-Uerdingen site in western Germany, this provided the foundation for the commercialization of the process. The development partners thyssenkrupp Uhde / UHDENORA and Bayer MaterialScience have agreed to offer the technology worldwide. There is already considerable interest in the chlorine industry.“ The new process can offer significant ecological and economic advantages,” says Alfred Hoffmann, member of the Executive Board of thyssenkrupp Uhde. “However, conditions at the production sites also play a role.”

“The new process can make a significant contribution to energy efficiency and thus to the sustainable transformation of energy systems,” says Dr. Tony Van Osselaer, member of the Board of Management of Bayer MaterialScience. In Germany alone, 100-percent deployment of the technology would save one percent of the total electricity demand. “This corresponds to the energy consumption of a major city such as Cologne,” Van Osselaer adds. There is also a positive effect on the climate, as carbon dioxide emissions as the result of power generation would also be reduced by one-third.

thyssenkrupp Uhde / UHDENORA will be responsible for global marketing, and Bayer MaterialScience will supply the oxygen depolarized cathodes as part of the non-exclusive collaboration. The chemical company developed this special type of electrode, whereas the design of the electrolysis cell originated with thyssenkrupp Uhde / UHDENORA.

The new technology is based on the membrane technology used in chlorine alkali electrolysis, which is now the standard for the production of chlorine. In this process, chlorine, caustic soda and hydrogen are produced from table salt and water using a cell voltage of normally three volts.

With the ODC technology, the electrode normally used to produce hydrogen in the membrane process is replaced by an oxygen depolarized cathode. The addition of oxygen suppresses the formation of hydrogen at the cathode, which is the negative pole. The only products are chlorine and caustic soda. This reduces electricity consumption by as much as 30 percent.

thyssenkrupp Uhde has a workforce of more than 5,900 employees worldwide and is a company in the Industrial Solutions business area of the thyssenkrupp Group. The company's activities focus on the engineering and construction of chemical and other industrial plants in the following fields: fertilisers; electrolysis; gas technologies; oil, coal and residue gasification; refining technologies; organic intermediates, polymers and synthetic fibres; as well as coke plant and high-pressure technologies. We also provide our customers with professional services and comprehensive solutions in all areas of industrial plant operation. Details are available at

UHDENORA is a joint company of thyssenkrupp Uhde/Germany and Industrie De Nora/Italy, and has a workforce of 70 employees worldwide. The company's activities focus on the design and construction of chemical and other industrial plants mainly in the following fields: chlor-alkali electrolysis, hydrochloric acid electrolysis and bleaching chemicals. Details are available at

With 2012 sales of EUR 11.5 billion, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2012, Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,500 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company. For more information visit

Back to top