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Wacker Chemie AG Builds Chemical Production Plant In Charleston, Tennessee

Germany-based Wacker Chemie AG will build a new production plant for its HDK brand of pyrogenic silica at its site in Charleston, Tennessee. Wacker will invest $150 million in the new production facility and create 50 new jobs in Bradley County.

“The additional capacities strengthen our market position as a leading global producer of pyrogenic silica and help us to meet our customers’ growing demand,” Wacker CEO Dr. Rudolf Staudigl said. “The new plant is the next logical step toward expanding Charleston into a fully integrated silicon site in the world’s second largest chemical market.”

Wacker produces HDK pyrogenic silica in Burghausen and Nünchritz, Germany and Zhangjiagang, China. The Munich-based chemical company is the world’s third-largest manufacturer in this sector.

Located adjacent to and integrated with Wacker’s existing polysilicon plant, the new production plant will have an annual capacity of 13,000 metric tons. Construction will begin in the second quarter of next year, with completion planned for the first half of 2019.

“Our goal to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs is made possible when successful companies choose to grow and create new opportunities for citizens throughout the state. We are grateful to Wacker for its decision to further invest in Tennessee by building a new production plant in Charleston,” Governor Bill Haslam said. “While in Germany last month, I had an opportunity to visit with several members of Wacker’s North American and German leadership teams who proudly shared with me that Wacker celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014. I look forward to Wacker’s continued growth in Bradley County and seeing the company reach many milestones in Tennessee in the years to come,” he added.

The facility is a key addition to the Charleston site’s supply chain, state officials noted. The main byproduct of polysilicon manufacturing is tetrachlorosilane, which either has to be converted and fed back into the production loop or can be used to create added value by being further processed into HDK. Wacker achieves maximum flexibility in the reprocessing of tetrachlorosilane, avoiding the need to dispose of waste products and thereby enhancing the efficiency of the integrated production system as a whole.

“What a great Christmas present for Bradley County. This great news comes so quickly after the grand opening of the Wacker facility last spring. Wacker is already expanding its facilities and adding new jobs and tax base to our community,” Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis said. “We have had a very positive relationship with Wacker going back to 2005 when company officials first started looking at Bradley County. We’re very happy to see this new investment and look forward to a long and prosperous future with Wacker.”

“TVA congratulates Wacker on its latest announcement to expand and create new quality jobs and investment in Cleveland, Tennessee,” TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley said. “It’s always an exciting day when an existing company is committed to continuing growth in the Valley, and we are pleased to partner with Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to celebrate this announcement.”

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