Iodine business at Häffner keeps growing

The future of iodine production is recycling!

Iodine belongs to the most important elements modern humans could discover. Particularly during the last century iodine found its way into most varied industries and application areas. Even though the element enjoys immense popularity, it is still considered a disposable or “throw-away product.” A matter Häffner is taking action on.

So far iodine that had been used in the industry was burned. No long-term solution, considering this substance is expensive and rare. The element is being produced virtually exclusivelyin Japan, the Asiatic region, Chile and in the south American region. A good that we should let flow back into the economic cycle.

Iodine recycling as a worthwhile alternative

As a consequence of a feasibility study and market testing we decided to develop our owm recycling facility. Via our innovative recycling concept we filter iodine out of the most varied products.

Initially we recover the elemental iodine during a wet-chemical process via various chemical reactions. Subsequently the element is being refinded via a chemical bond once again after which it can be used again on the market.

Even though we can only use liquid products for our process, we make it possible – due to preparation – to have the most diverse economic goods being recycled in our facility. Preparation steps are for example: distilliation, thermal decomposition and microfiltration. Byproducts generated during recycling are either being treated in our own wastewater system or are being disposed of externally.

Our recycling facility

Currently our facility is approved for 500t of iodine residues. The recycling facility was set up in pur distribution center in Marbach am Neckar that was constructed in 2014.

Among other thins we make the recycling of iodine waste from radiopaque materials, polarizing films and different industrial waste possible via our recycling process. The recovered ionic products are often purchased by the suppliers. Partly though we also sell to wholesalers and producers of catalysts and special blends.

Thought has been given to the production of food and feed Additives. The enormous demand in the technical areas led us to decide against this industry though.

During recycling we proceed as follows:

Recycling of Iodine

After the delivery of materials containing iodine via our customers we process them as new products, all according to the individual needs. The final products are returned to the customers and are ready for immediate use. After successful usage the iodine residues are being returned to us and the cycle starts anew.

Economic success for Häffner

The recycling facility has been very well received. At the end of 2016 our production for 2017 was already completely sold. In this respect we hope to further expand our facility. Our main suppliers are still in the pharmaceutical industry and in the area of specialty chemicals. However, we also receive deliveries of expired chemicals and different waste of the metal-processing industry regularly.

In the process both sides always benefit from our work. The complex processing of iodine is not cost-covering for normal companies. On the one hand this is due to residues only arising sporadically, on the other hand because the preparation requires a very specific approach.

Recycling for past and future

During the past years we have noted a noticable increase in the demand for iodine. The lion´s share hereby comes from optical polarizing films for LCDs. What´s more is the demographic change of developing countries such as China and India. The medical demand requires noticably higher amounts of iodine compared to 10 years ago.

A distinct, international increase of iodine production is not to be expected though. For instance in Chile a long pipeline reaching from the shores to the epicontinental desert where iodine ores are found would be required.

We are convinced that the future of iodine production is recycling.