Chlorine & PVC Value Chain


Who should attend?

  • This course provides comprehensive information on an industry once considered as being part of chemicals, now an important component of petrochemicals.
Audience :
  • Professionals: researchers; production, process and product development engineers interested in these production lines.

Level : Proficiency

Course Content


      • Chlorine: a very reactive chemical; both an advantage (used in many synthesis) and a drawback (high toxicity). Difficult to handle; strict safety rules, transport to be avoided as much as possible.
      • Principle of salt solution electrolysis, with coproduction of hydrogen and caustic soda, in fixed ratios. Move from mercury cells to more environment friendly membrane technology. Innovation going on with new Oxygen Depolarized Cathode development.
      • Main markets for caustic soda and Chlorine. Unusual price effects linked to fixed production ratio. Close to 60% of chlorine going to polymer production, with VCM/PVC being the main single market.
      • Analysis of typical chlorination process, combining direct use of chlorine and indirect use of recycled HCl. Examples of chloromethanes production and of VCM production, by both ethylene route and acetylene route from coal.

      • PVC, a very versatile polymer. Presentation of the various types of PVC products (general purpose and specialties) and of their main markets. Analysis of the added value from salt, electricity and ethylene to PVC.
      • General purpose PVC. Main product characteristics. Presentation of the suspension process and the mass process.
      • Analysis of the batch Suspension process, review of all technology developments towards minimizing cycle time, hence minimizing fixed production costs. Necessity of compounding stage for PVC → no product differentiation at polymerization.
      • Specialty PVC: copolymers, emulsion, micro-suspension, chlorinated PVC. Their major uses, their production.
      • High toxicity of VCM: how PVC industry reacted when it was discovered.
      • The future of PVC? Very bad reputation: the worst polymer according to Greenpeace. But still growing fast, although banned in some countries. The cheapest and the only commodity polymer with less than 50% hydrocarbon content. A polymer for the future?

Learning Objectives

  • Upon completion of the course, the participants will be able to have an overview of the industrial chain leading to the production and use of these economically important and still fast developing polymer family, in spite of its very poor environmental reputation among public and ecologists.

Ways & Means

  • Detailed course material.
  • Pictures/videos of main equipment and samples.