Addition and substitution are the two main types of halogenation reactions that predominate in modern industry. The former is best characterized by bromination reactions, where bromine reacts with an unsaturated molecule like ethylene. Substitution reactions can be exemplified by the reaction of chlorine with ethane or propane.

This article will explore the role that halogenation reactions play in modern industry, with a focus on chlorination—given that chlorination is the most commonly practiced halogenation reaction in the fine chemicals sector.

How is chlorine produced?

Chlorinated organic products such as aromatic and aliphatic derivatives are produced via one of four main synthetic routes, which rely on a robust chlorine supply chain. Most industrial-scale chlorine production methods are based on electrolysis of concentrated sodium chloride solutions. This is known as the chlor-alkali process, where an electric current is passed through brine, contained in an electrochemical cell, producing chlorine and caustic.

It is estimated that chlor-alkali production contributes as much as $8 billion per annum in sales to the US economy alone. Chlorine halogenation reactions go on to enable the production of myriad other compounds that are integral to commercial products, medical components, industrial goods, and more. The estimated global sales of products benefiting from chlorine halogenation reactions is $38 billion per year.

CABB’s expertise in halogenation reactions

CABB’s facilities in PratteIn and Gersthofen have electrolysers equipped with single-element cells based on zero-gap technology, with the Gersthofen site also operating a membrane-based chlor-alkali electrolysis. This configuration operates a cell that has no gap between the electrodes and the membrane, making it the most energy-efficient chlorine production method on the market (consuming around one third less energy per metric ton of caustic soda than its predecessor). It is naturally more environmentally friendly.

Chlorination is also a critical step towards premium quality monochloroacetic acid (MCA), which is a vital intermediate for agrochemicals, cosmetics, food goods, plastic stabilizers, and more. We carry out large scale MCA production at our Gersthofen, Knapsack, and Jining sites, while PratteIn remains our leading flexible chlorination facility worldwide. We offer custom manufacturing services designed to maximize process yields and product purity while minimizing unwanted by-products. Our commitment to future-proofing production methods is testament to our long-standing success in the industry. Browse our halogenation reactions page for more information on the various chlorination processes carried out at PratteIn. Or contact a member of the CABB team today with any questions.