Asahi Kasei to launch new services for membrane process chlor-alkali electrolysis with R2 following acquisition and joint study
September 8, 2021
Asahi Kasei Corp.
Asahi Kasei is initiating a proof-of-concept demonstration of data-driven services for membrane process chlor-alkali electrolysis with Recherche 2000 Inc. (R2), having jointly completed preliminary study and co-development of such services following its February 2020 acquisition of R2.
For over 45 years since commercialization in 1975, Asahi Kasei’s membrane process for chlor-alkali electrolysis has earned a strong reputation among customers for its superior operating performance and reliability. As of August 2021, it has been adopted at more than 150 plants in 30 countries with a total capacity of over 30 million tons per year converted to 100% caustic soda, which makes Asahi Kasei the world’s leading supplier.
The process produces chlorine, hydrogen, and caustic soda by electrolyzing brine using ion-exchange membranes. It eliminates the need to use environmentally hazardous mercury or asbestos as process materials, and enables greater energy efficiency. The combination of low-voltage membranes and electrolyzers developed with advanced Asahi Kasei technology alleviates the environmental burden by reducing power consumption in the electrolysis process.
As the world’s only supplier to offer all technological elements of membrane process chlor-alkali electrolysis, including ion exchange membranes, electrolysis cells, electrodes, and plant operation expertise, Asahi Kasei is a unique provider of comprehensive solutions to customers in the industry. R2 develops and manufactures monitoring equipment and safety, maintenance, and optimization solutions for membrane process chlor-alkali electrolysis, and is the world-leading provider of monitoring services to the chlor-alkali industry. After its acquisition of R2, Asahi Kasei studied the potential of data-driven solution services, aiming to broadly provide such services to customers throughout the chlor-alkali industry, not only those using the Asahi Kasei process.
Asahi Kasei’s exceptional ability to provide technical support is based on a wealth of experience in supporting the operation of electrolysis plants sold to customers around the world, including remote support of plant start-up using smart devices during the pandemic. A blueprint of new data-driven services such as predictive maintenance and process optimization was prepared by integrating Asahi Kasei’s technical service expertise and R2’s technologies and know-how of intelligent systems. Such services focus on “Smart (digital transformation),” “Safe/Stable,” and “Sustainable” as key attributes that contribute to the further success of customers operating membrane process chlor-alkali electrolysis plants. Trials of the new services are being launched for the proof-of-concept demonstration at some customers’ plants.
In April 2021, Asahi Kasei’s Specialty Solutions SBU launched a Customer Success Department in the Ion Exchange Membrane Business Unit of its Membrane Solutions Division in order to advance the new services in alignment with R2 for the provision of total solutions to the chlor-alkali industry.
Asahi Kasei and R2 will exercise proper care with respect to the handling customers’ data, and will not share confidential information such as plant operational data without customers’ explicit request or consent.
Asahi Kasei will transform its business model towards solution provision through the development of the new services, and plans to apply the service platform to the hydrogen business field moving forward.
Corporate Profile of Recherche 2000 Inc.
- Gilles J. Tremblay
- Centre de Commerce Mondial Montréal 380, St-Antoine O. Bureau 2000, Montréal, QC H2Y 3X7, Canada
- Design, development, and implementation of intelligent systems geared at industrial process safety, predictive maintenance, and process optimization for chlor-alkali membrane electrolysis