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Albany, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/19/2014 -- China, the world’s largest silica producer, had silica capacity of 2.20 million tons in 2013, slowing to a year-on-year increase of 8.1% and accounting for 60% of global capacity, of which 2.079 million tons were precipitated silica and 118,000 tons fumed silica, rising by 7.44% and 21.15% from a year earlier, respectively.
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Ever-increasing silica capacity is attributed mainly to the increase in downstream demand, especially that of green tire and silicone rubber and the commissioning of expanded projects of producers.
In March, 2013, the LPS & HDS silica production lines in Wuxi production base of Quechen Silicon Chemical Co., Ltd., the largest precipitated silica producer in China, were completed and put into operation. The capacity of single production line is 60,000t/a. In March, 2013, the 70,000t/a LPS & HDS silica production lines of Anhui Quechen Silicon Chemical were formally put into production. As of the end of Sept. 2014, precipitated silica capacity of Wuxi Quechen totaled 250,000t/a.
While domestic private companies are expanding capacities, foreign ones are also expanding their silica capacities in China. At the end of 2013, Solvay Silica elevated the capacity of Qingdao Plant from 72,000 tons/a to 112,000 tons/a. Solvay mainly produces precipitated silica with a capacity of 380,000 tons, accounting for about 10% of global amount, and has 8 silica production bases around the globe.
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In Jul. 2014, Evonik Industries announced that it would establish silicon compound plants with Jiangsu Zhongneng Polysilicon Technology Development Co. Ltd. for the production of fumed silica and ultra-pure silicon tetrachloride. The plants will have an annual capacity of over 20,000 tons, and are scheduled to start-up operation in 2016. Evonik Industries is the world’s largest silica producer with capacity of 550,000 tons, 15% of global total. Since the year 2014, the company has announced a series of plans for capacity expansion with the aim of raising its capacity in 2014 by 30% compared to 2010 levels.
From the perspective of demand, China’s demand structure for precipitated silica has undergone some changes in recent years, with proportion of shoe making industry declining and that of tire rising. The improvement in tire demand proportion is largely due to the development of automobile industry, which spurs fast growth in demand for silica from tire, particularly green tire. In 2013, the downstream shoemaking industry made up 38% of total demand for silica (40% in 2011), and tire 20% (18% in 2011).
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