Application Areas

Energy and greenhouse gas reduction

Ammonia for crop fertilizers

Energy processing

Fine and specialty chemicals

Efficiency of industrial process

In the manufacture of chemical products, the use of catalysts is indispensable for the efficient use of raw materials and energy, and necessary for optimized chemical reaction processes. As a market and technology leader, the Business Area Catalysis delivers solutions that add value for customers in the petrochemical, chemical, fuel and plastics industry.

Innovative capabilities and high-margin activities are paying off

For the 2015 reporting year, the Business Area Catalysis showed solid growth in local currencies of 4% and EBITDA margin before exceptional items of 25.1%, the best profitability of all Business Areas again despite challenging conditions, such as the market situation in China. In the medium term, Catalysis targets an annual organic growth of 6% to 7%. This will be achieved by a solid position in gaining new large-scale projects with technology licensing partners, growth in new applications through strong innovation power and the further strengthing of the activities in China.

In addition to generating significant growth potential, the strategic focus of this business area was to optimize the allocation of existing resources on core business with strong market position and differentiation potential. To this end, Clariant divested the loss-generating energy storage business that was previously part of this Business Area in 2015. The target margin for Catalysis is to remain at the high level reached in 2014 and 2015.

Key Financial Figures



in CHF m



in CHF m (before exceptional items)

EBITDA margin


before exceptional items


Growth potential


per year

EBITDA target margin


before exceptional items

Leading Market Positions

No. 1

Petrochemical catalysts

No. 2

Syngas catalysts

No. 2

Chemical catalysts

No. 4

Polypropylene catalysts

Emerging catalyst technologies minimize the environmental impact of the increasing chemical production worldwide

The readily addressable market for the Business Area Catalysis is roughly CHF 4 billion. The biggest growth potential is seen in the petrochemical, the polymerization and the environmental activities. The general market growth is driven by an increasing chemical production and the need for improving efficiency. The global production for the largest 20 chemical companies is expected to grow from roughly 800 million tons to 1.2 billion tons in 2020 and 2.3 billion tons in 2050. The energy consumption will more than double during this period. This challenge with incalculable environmental risks can be solved by using emerging catalyst technologies.

Share of Sales by business segment

Broad Range of Applications

  • Ammonia
  • Methanol
  • Gas processing
  • Fuel cell
  • Steam cracker/Olefin purification
  • Ethylene derivatives
  • Styrene & BTX
  • On-purpose propylene
  • Polypropylene
  • Hydrogenation
  • Oxidation
  • Custom catalysts
  • Refinery hydrogen
  • Fuel upgrading
  • Refinery stream purification
  • Gasoline desulfurization
  • Zeolite powders
  • Offgas treatment for chemical plants and stationary engines

Discover Value: AmoMax®

To feed the world in a more
environmentally compatible way

The United Nations estimated that the world population will grow from 7.2 billion people in 2014 by 15% to 8.1 billion in 2025. Over the same period of time, the global arable land is expected to expand by only 4% – less than one third of the population increase. The great challenge of the future therefore is to close the gap by using the arable land more efficiently. Additionally, manufacture of fertilizers requires a lot of energy and generates substantial CO2 emissions. Clariant has introduced a highly active catalyst, the innovative AmoMax®-10 catalyst, with substantially higher efficiency. As a result, significantly less energy is needed to produce ammonia as a fertilizer in food production.

500 000 tonnes of CO2

were avoided so far by shifting the currently 100 ammonia production facilities to AmoMax®-10

Interview with Taylor Archer

Taylor Archer Global Director of Sales and Product Management –
Ammonia and DRI Catalysts

»In the production of crop fertilizers you need a catalyst like AmoMax®-10 which is substantially more efficient and environmentally compatible.«

Mr. Archer, why are catalysts needed in the production process?

With a catalyst, reactions occur faster and require less activation energy. Because catalysts are not consumed in the catalyzed reaction, they can continue to catalyze the reaction of further quantities of reactant. For example, by using Clariant’s innovative and highly active AmoMax®-10 catalyst, significantly less energy is needed to produce ammonia.

For which industries does it make sense to use these catalysts?

AmoMax®-10 catalysts are already very successfully used in the production of crop fertilizers, as approximately 80% of ammonia is used to manufacture fertilizers. At the end of August, Clariant won the 100th global reference client strengthening our leading position in the ammonia catalysts industry.

How can customers benefit from these catalysts?

AmoMax®-10 stands out from other catalysts because it consists mainly of iron oxide containing mineral wustite and other specific promoters which improve its effectiveness. As a result, its activity is 20% higher compared to catalysts based on magnetite which had been common before. The 100 ammonia production facilities that have switched to AmoMax®-10 so far have been saving around 1 000 gigawatt hours annually, which equals the energy consumption of a city with roughly 80 000 households and a saving of approximately 500 000 tons of CO2 equivalents.


Highly effective catalyst to produce fertilizers more efficiently

Would you like to learn more about this product innovation?

Value for money

Value for money

Clariant has introduced a highly active catalyst, the innovative AmoMax®-10 catalyst, with substantially higher efficiency. As a result, significantly less energy is needed to produce ammonia as a fertilizer in food production.

Higher production efficiency

Higher production efficiency

Reduced need of investments

Reduced need of investments

Substantial energy savings

Significant cost savings

Catalyst and process Improvement is critical

The manufacture of 18 products (among thousands) from the chemical industry accounts for 80% of energy demand in the chemical industry and 75% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Catalysts and related process improvements could reduce energy intensity1 for these products by 20% to 40% as a whole by 2050 combining all scenarios. In absolute terms, such improvements could save as much as 13 exajoules (EJ) and 1 gigatonne (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq) per year by 2050 versus a »business-as-usual« scenario.2

1 Energy used per unit of product produced

2 An exajoule is 1018 joules. In 2010, the United States used 93 EJ of primary energy and Germany 13.7 EJ

Energy and greenhouse gas reduction via catalytic processes


Important Events 2015

  • Higher efficiency in VAM production

    • VAMax™ makes the manufacture of vinyl acetate monomers (VAM) significantly more efficient
    • Application areas include dispersions, polymer powders, solid resins and solutions for the construction, paints and coatings industries, as well as for use as a raw material for the adhesives, paper and textile industries
    • The catalyst supports the reaction of ethylene and acetate with oxygen

    Catalyst for propane dehydrogenation

    • First Catofin® propane dehydrogenation plant in China to use Heat Generation Material (HGM) with excellent performance
    • HGM is an innovative metal-oxide material which is designed to significantly increase selectivity and yield of Catofin® units
    • Catalytic technology developed in co-operation with CB&I is now producing over 1.5 million tons of light olefins only in China

    90% less greenhouse gas

    Clariant’s ENVICAT® catalysts help to prevent environmentally harmful nitrogen monoxide in a particularly efficient manner. Nitrogen monoxide is jointly responsible for the so-called greenhouse effect and also causes massive damage to the Earth’s ozone layer. As an example, ENVICAT® is used in the manufacture of nitric acid, whereby 90% of greenhouse gas emissions can be avoided.

  • Catalyst for Sour Gas Shift

    Clariant newly introduced its pre-sulfided ShiftMax® 820S Sour Gas Shift (SGS) catalyst with the successful start of a commercial methanol production facility of Shanghai Huayi Energy Chemical Co. Ltd. This is of particular significance as it is the first industrial application of this catalyst in China.

    ShiftMax® 820S increases operational efficiency while reducing risks, costs and complexities for the chemical industry worldwide. The new SGS process for example reduces capital expenditure for the shift system by up to 20% and optimizes operating costs with up to 30% lower catalyst volume.

    »Our innovative catalyst ShiftMax® 820S adds significant value for Chinese coal-to-chemical customers.«

    Harald Dialer Head of Business Segment Syngas