Spanish member company begins mercury phase-out

Monday, February 13, 2017

Electroquimica Onubense will start change to new membrane technology from May 2017

After completing discussions with the site owner and local authorities, Euro Chlor member company, Electroquimica Onubense, has announced plans to continue producing chlorine and caustic soda at its Huelva site in Spain by phasing out mercury-based production on the site and switching to membrane-based technology.

The project is part of the regulatory requirement to use the Best Available Technology in the production of chlor-alkali (and other products such as hydrochloric acid and hypochlorite), as mercury–based production must cease by the end of this year. Electroquimica Onubense will use 103 high-efficiency membrane cells and invest approximately 12 million euros in the project, creating an additional 25 local jobs. The planned new membrane cells will also significantly reduce energy requirements and waste emissions.

The project involves the safe and environmentally responsible disposal of 77 tons of mercury, for which a contractor has already been assigned. Contaminated wastes will also be responsibly decontaminated and disposed of/ recycled accordingly. The project is expected to begin in May and it is hoped that the new plant will be fully operational by December 2017.

Euro Chlor recently held a well-attended workshop with our members to share information on how to conduct mercury-membrane conversions in a safe and environmentally responsible way.