We provide industrial and municipal markets with coagulants and other chemicals for either the treatment of wastewater or the purification of drinking water. We also produce industrial chemicals which are used by a broad spectrum of industries such as the pharmaceutical industry, petrochemical, steel, and fertilizer industries. Our other chemical products include bleach, sodium hydroxide, various grades of hydrochloric acid to meet the demands of many markets, and calcium chloride for food and industrial applications. Sulfur is a strategic raw material for our group and we produce large quantities of sulfuric acid.
Our production processes enable the conversion or recycling of industrial by-products into attractive new products for water treatment. We supply wastewater treatment chemicals to some of the largest cities in Western Europe.
Kuhlmann Europe has four production sites and these are located in Loos (France), Tessenderlo and Ham (Belgium), and Rekingen (Switzerland). The production sites are located as close as possible to our main customers.
In Loos (Kuhlmann France), we have a state-of-the-art membrane electrolysis unit that was inaugurated in 2018. Through the intermediates received from our electrolysis unit, we are able to produce a wide range of products. Our principal products are ferric chloride, a coagulant that is used in industrial and municipal markets for the treatment of wastewater or the purification of drinking water, caustic soda, and sodium hypochlorite, which are used for disinfection and detergency, and hydrochloric acid.
At our Tessenderlo site (Kuhlmann Belgium), we also produce ferric chloride and hydrochloric acid.
The manufacturing of CaCl2 takes place in Ham. Calcium chloride is used in the food processing industry, in industrial applications, for dust control, and as a de-icing agent. Our production of sulfuric acid also takes place in Ham and this is used in the manufacturing of fertilizers, chemicals, and pigments. Ham is also an important site for the production of hydrochloric acid.
Meanwhile, our site in Rekingen (Kuhlmann Switzerland) produces iron salts, which are key ingredients in pharmaceutical drugs both for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and specific veterinary applications.
Quick, cost-effective, and sustainable processes
In the water treatment market, we are one of Europe's leading manufacturers of inorganic chemicals that act as coagulants for customers in municipal and industrial wastewater and drinking water treatment plants. Kuhlmann Europe has developed processes to convert industrial by-products into new water treatment products that coagulate phosphates and other contaminants quickly and economically. The water is thus rendered purified.
The circular business model for water treatment products allows us to use the hydrochloric acid by-product of our fertilizer production as a raw material for the steel industry: during the steel sheet manufacturing process, iron oxides form on the surface of sheets and coils, which require chemical cleaning with hydrochloric acid before applying a surface treatment to the steel for the automotive, construction, and packaging industries.
This cleaning step generates large quantities of iron-containing spent acid solutions from the pickling lines. These co-products are then used as secondary raw materials in several of our ferric chloride manufacturing plants. Thus, a long-term and sustainable recyclable material stream has been developed with the steel industry. By valorizing this co-product, we contribute to the preservation of our resources, such as iron ore (magnetite), and at the same time, we produce a key element to treat wastewater and protect our environment. Once used by the latter in their pickling operations, Kuhlmann Europe recovers the pickling liquor, which in turn is used to produce coagulants for water treatment. These coagulants allow for the removal of phosphorus from wastewater and thus prevent the eutrophication of surface waters.