September 14, 2011
Kemira celebrates 30 years of formic acid production
Kemira Oyj recently celebrated its 30th year anniversary of formic acid production.
The production of formic acid has been expanded gradually, and the current production volume is over 100,000 tonnes per year.
Kemira actively develops new applications for formic acid, especially for the feed, chemical, and leather industries. "The main target of the development work is either to replace more harmful products with a formic acid based product, or to improve the customer process," says Marjo Luoma, Director, Formate product line.
"A good example of our newest products is Tanfor A which improves the efficiency of the soyoil epoxidation process. Lowering the environmental load of the formic acid production is crucial for Kemira. We are developing processes which use renewable biomass based raw materials for formic acid production," says Luoma. "Formic acid is a simple organic acid which is chemically the same naturally degradable acid that red ants have produced in nature for already millions of years."
When Kemira started the formic acid production in cooperation with Valio in Oulu in fall 1981, most of the production was sold to Finnish farms as a silage additive. "Today, the preservation of silage is still an important application for formic acid, even though the acid today is sold for numerous applications all over the world," says Luoma.
The prospect of formic acid applications and customers is still developing. The bulk of the product is exported from Finland either unprocessed or as a further processed solution for the leather and textile, chemical, pharmaceutical, and feed industries in about 60 countries. The salts of formic acid, formates, are used in several applications, for example, as de-icers at airports and as oil drilling fluids.