Chemours Corpus Christi plant comes online
The world’s biggest R1234yf factory is now operational at Ingleside in Texas, tripling YF production capacity for Chemours, which co-developed the HFO refrigerant with Honeywell.
Resulting from a $US300 million ($A425m) upgrade of the Chemours Corpus Christi plant that began in 2016, this YF production boost will help the chemical giant meet increasing market demand for low global warming potential HFO-based refrigerants and blends.
In particular, the new plant will free up supply of Option-branded YF to the automotive sector, which is adopting it as the mainstream successor to R134a.
YF is also used in a growing number of blends, such as R449a that is used to retrofit stationary equipment that originally ran on R404a and R507.
“Our US facility reinforces our commitment to meet the needs of our mobile and stationary refrigerant customers through unmatched capacity, capability and quality,” said Chemours president and CEO Mark Vergnano.
Chemours claims the investment to build this global-scale manufacturing capability has created hundreds of jobs in research and development, manufacturing, construction support and for external suppliers to the expanded Corpus Christi facility.
Honeywell’s Geismar facility in Louisiana was previously the world’s biggest YF plant, producing Solstice-branded HFOs.
Opteon boosts Chemours income
Chemours recorded a 7.0 per cent uptick in sales for 2018, netting $US6.6 billion.
This was partially off the back of an 8.0 per cent rise in fluoroproduct sales, which totalled $2.9b, helped by “strong adoption” of Opteon (HFO-based) refrigerants.
However, Chemours noted that “higher average prices of fluoropolymer products and base refrigerants were partially offset by lower average price of Opteon mobile refrigerants”.
Growing production capacity and improved manufacturing methods both contribute to greater availability of HFOs, which will inevitably result in lower prices.
That’s potentially good news for VASA members and consumers, although the global HFC phase-down now kicking in under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol should keep HFO demand high for years to come.
“Our results for the fourth quarter and full year 2018 reflect the strength of the full Chemours portfolio and the disciplined execution of our strategy,” said Mark Vergnano.
“I am proud of everything we have achieved together in our third full year as Chemours, and the momentum we have created across all of our businesses.”