Rhodia has formed a joint venture with Qingdao Haiwan Group and Qingdao Dongyue Sodium Silicate Company to build a sodium silicate plant at Qingdao, China.
The facility with a capacity of 220,000 tonnes is scheduled to come on-stream in the first quarter of 2008.
Sodium silicate is a key intermediate for precipitated silica manufacturing. The new facility will supply Rhodia's Asian silica manufacturing plants in Qingdao, China and Incheon, South Korea, that specialise in high performance silica.
Rhodia's silica is notably used in low rolling resistance tyres which enable up to 5% fuel savings and therefore provide a solution to reduce CO2 emissions from cars.
The company is also investing 30 million Euros to increase its intermediates production capacity at its Paulinia site in Brazil by the end of 2008.
The investment will allow it to meet the demand of a market that is growing 5 to 6 % per year, driven by the demand for polyamide and phenolic resins in Latin America. It plans to expand its phenol and acetone production capacities by 25% and its cyclohexanol capacity by 43%.