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13 September 2010


Albemarle building Korean TMG plant to meet growth in HB-LEDs

Specialty chemicals manufacturer Albemarle Corp of Baton Rouge, LA, USA has begun what is says is its largest capital investment in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region of Yeosu, South Korea.

The Yeosu site contains existing R&D as well as pilot plant equipment that will be modified to enable customer qualification efforts in 2010. The site will effectively mirror Albemarle's metallocene polyolefin (mPO) catalyst and trimethyl gallium (TMG) capabilities in Baton Rouge.

Albemarle aims to leverage its more than 50 years of experience in producing metal-organics to supply high-purity metal-organics (HPMOs) such as TMG to the high-brightness LED (HB-LED) market.

“This strategic investment signifies our commitment to expand our footprint in regions that provide substantial growth opportunities,” says chairman & CEO Mark Rohr. By providing local manufacturing and technical service and support, Albemarle reckons that it can give customers a competitive advantage in a growing market. “We thank the governor of Jeollanam-do province and the mayor of Yeosu city for their support and advice,” Rohr adds.

The Yeosu site will produce mPO catalyst lab samples followed by pilot samples for qualification trials with local customers in fourth-quarter 2010. Intermediate commercial operations will begin in mid-2011, with the facility being fully operational in 2012. The site will produce finished catalysts, activators like methylaluminoxane (MAO) and organoborons, as well as metallocene components. The site will also purify metal-organics, creating a portfolio of HPMOs for electronic applications. TMG production will begin in early 2011, with other HPMOs phased into the project throughout 2011.

See related items:

Chemtura expanding MO precursor capacity and forming Korean JV targeting HB-LEDs

Dow Electronic Materials to expand TMG capacity to serve LED market

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AkzoNobel doubling TMG production capacity

SAFC Hitech expanding TMG capacity in UK plant

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