Tata Chemicals Ltd. mithapur
High bicarb dietApart from the basic soda ash business, Brunner Mond is very bullish about its bicarbonate. "Sodium bicarbonate is a truly global business because it has much higher value," says Martin Keighley, head of European operations. Bicarb is a speciality chemical that sells for twice the price of soda ash, even though it is an intermediate product in the soda ash process.
"At the moment, we make 70,000 tonnes of bicarb, but we are building a new factory to increase that by 50,000 tonnes," says Haslehurst, "and we can't be building any more plants in the Netherlands. We are preparing a proposal for building one or two other plants in the UK, so by the end of next year we will have a sodium bicarb plant in each of our three factories in Europe."
The new plant in the UK is for a trademarked bicarb variant called Briskarb â — specifically for flue-gas treatment. It's used to manage incineration, burning of wastes and cleaning of acidic gases. As Europe continually tightens environmental legislation, there will be more applications for Briskarb. The company's two European plants presently make refined bicarb, suitable for pharmaceutical companies like Glaxo SmithKline, which buys 70 to 80 per cent of Brunner Mond's bicarb.