Germany-based Evonik, one of the world’s leading silica producers, says it has invested in a plant expansion for precipitated silica at its site in Charleston, US. The new line in South Carolina is satisfying the high demand in particular from the tyre industry in North America and makes the supply chains of Evonik partners in the region resilient by enabling local silica sourcing.
Silica is a key ingredient for fuel-efficient tyres and other products like toothpaste or coatings. The group is investing a mid-double-digit million Euro amount. The construction of the new production line is scheduled to begin in mid-2024. Operations will start in early 2026.
“North America is an important strategic growth region for us,” says Maike Schuh, Chief Financial Officer of Evonik and responsible for the Americas region. “With the investment in Charleston, we are strengthening our strategic customer-centric approach and improving our cost and sustainability position. Evonik is investing in innovative and green solutions and technologies that offer our customers superior sustainability benefits.”
With the new line in Charleston, the company will increase its production capacity for precipitated silica at the site by 50%.
“With this expansion, our state-of-the-art Charleston site becomes a major hub for precipitated and sustainable silica products in North America,” says Lauren Kjeldsen, Head of the Smart Materials Division, which includes the silica business.
Evonik has defined a clear roadmap towards carbon neutrality for its Charleston site. “The commercial and technical teams have worked intensely in the past years to develop a robust expansion concept, which we will now implement,” says Emmanuel Auer, Head of the Silica Business Line.
The expansion in Charleston fulfills the need for local-to-local supply chains for tyres. Moreover, the company plans to introduce circular raw materials to manufacture Ultrasil silica to satisfy the sustainability targets of the tyre industry.
Silica is a key ingredient for fuel-efficient tyres, reducing fuel consumption by up to 8% compared to conventional passenger car tyres.
In North America, the demand for tyres with reduced rolling resistance and improved fuel efficiency is experiencing above-average growth.
Over the past years, Evonik has continuously invested in modern silica production updates and strategic acquisitions around the globe to further enhance the business. The Charleston facilities are part of a network of 18 precipitated silica production sites globally.