J. Phys. IV France 04 (1994) C1-223-C1-232
Production de chlore et de soude par le procédé à membrane échangeuse d'ionsF. DELMAS
ELF ATOCHEM, Centre de Recherches Rhône-Alpes, BP. 63, 69493 Pierre-Bénite cedex, France
In Europe, 50 % of the production of the chemical industry depends on chlorine. Elf Atochem, the french leader in chlorine, has chosen to extend its chlorine capacity with the ion exchange membrane (IEM) process. The IEM have to be resistant to the aggressive electrolyte medium, have a very high permselectivity and conductivity. The chlor-alkali membranes are made of perfluorocarbon polymers with cationic exchange groups, sulfonic on the anodic side and carboxylic on the cathodic side. Their properties are well described by the cluster network model. The electrolyser and membrane evolution allow to obtain high caustic soda current efficiency (97 %) and a voltage of about 3 V at 3 kA/m2, 90°C and with a caustic soda concentration of about 35 wt %. Since 1990, a 50 wt % caustic soda solution can be produced directly in elecrolysers using a new generation of multilayer ion exchange membrane. Despite the unfavorable economic climate in which the chlorine industry finds itself (overcapacity, environment), the IEM process has made a remarquable breakthrough : this technology appears to be the most economic and above all the most respectful of the environment. This process is already recognized as the substitute of the mercury process. Elf Atochem operates two chlor-alkali membrane plants : one of 80 kt Cl2/year in USA and a second of 120 kt Cl2/ year in France.
© EDP Sciences 1994