Evonik has maintained a presence in Alabama for over 40 years. They first began operations in Mobile (their largest facility in North America) and added a second Birmingham location in 2011.
Evonik’s plant near Mobile employs around 800 employees and produces hydrogen peroxide, fumed silica, and the animal feed additive methionine, among other chemicals. In addition, they have extended to the U.S. their production of alkoxides, which are used as catalysts in biodiesel production. Evonik’s specialty catalyst for biodiesel production makes it the global market leader in the field.
In 2015, they partnered with Bayer CropScience to construct two chemical manufacturing units in Mobile. The $200 million co-location project was in response to requests by farmers and agronomists to produce an alternative weed control technology to help combat the rising problem of weed resistance. The facilities produce the desirable herbicide and work to create other cutting-edge agricultural innovations.
In 2018, the company announced plans to expand its production capacities at the Mobile facility for VISIOMER® crosslinkers, which are used in many applications such as paints and coatings, composites, and plastics, to improve chemical resistance and technical hardness.
Evonik’s Birmingham location came to be in 2014, when it acquired the pharmaceutical business of Surmodics Inc. Minnesota-based Surmodics purchased the operation, which specialized in the development of polymers and drug delivery systems, from Birmingham’s Southern Research for at least $40 million in 2007.
Evonik Corp. chose their Birmingham facility to open a global Innovation Center for the research and development of medical devices and technology – its first such center outside of Germany. The center’s focus is on customer needs for specialty chemicals and sustained drug delivery systems (biomaterials and polymers) as well as the development of new system solutions for medical technology.
Since 2014, the corporation has invested more than $50 million in the facility and is now home to Evonik’s global Competence Center for Medical Devices.
Evonik officials said they chose Birmingham for the project because of the company’s existing presence in the city, the experience base in the region, the strong educational institutions nearby, and the area’s business friendly atmosphere.
In 2018, the company announced plans to install a new GMP powder/liquid filling line for its parenteral drug delivery business and has also begun constructing a new RESOMER® production facility adjacent to its existing plant. When completed, the project will help Evonik meet the growing global demand for bioresorbable polymers.
The combined improvements to the site will lead to more than 50 new jobs in the state of Alabama. Evonik’s existing Birmingham facility employs around 100 employees, working in medical technologies and biomaterial research.