THE HISTORY OF THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY IN KNAPSACK
EXPERIENCE AND INNOVATION SINCE 1907
The chemical industry is characterized by change and continuous innovation. Its goal is to improve the quality of life through scientific progress. The history of the chemical industry in Knapsack is a reflection of the dynamic developments in the chemical sector. It has been shaped by the inventive spirit of the people, their drive and their ability to meet new challenges. This is the chief reason why products have been made here for over 100 years which are now taken for granted in many areas of everyday life.
You can obtain a brief overview of the most important changes in Knapsack by clicking on the year dates below the chronicle.
A more detailed account of the over 100-year history of the chemical location Knapsack is provided in the chronicle which we compiled to mark our last round-number anniversary. To open the digital version of the commemorative publication, click on the cover picture on the left. Have fun browsing through our history!
The Chemiepark Knapsack in the course of time
The founding years: Die Deutsche Carbid Aktiengeselschaft (The German Carbide Corporation) starts producing calcium cyanamide and calcium carbide in Knapsack. In 1909 the name of the company is changed to Aktiengesellschaft für Stickstoffdünger, Knapsack bei Köln (Corporation for Nitrogen Fertilizer, Knapsack, near Cologne).
Hoechst enters Knapsack. Hoechst becomes a shareholder and founds Knapsacker Organische Chemie (Knapsack Organic Chemicals), constructing an acetic acid plant.
The administration is moved from Knapsack to Cologne. An employee pension fund is established. Construction of the first carbide furnace with a triangular arrangement of electrodes.
The Knapsack Sower. Granulated calcium cyanamide for agricultural purposes, carbide and its derivative acetylene form the basis for acetic acid and acetic anhydride. Inauguration of a company workshop for apprentices.
War, devastation and a new beginning: On 28 October 1944 Knapsack is almost completely destroyed in an air strike. 2,000 employees lose their livelihood.
Phosphorus chemicals arrive in Knapsack. Condensed phosphates revolutionize washing technology. The petrochemical industry emerges, providing ethylene and propylene as a cost-effective raw material for the synthesis of organic chemicals and plastics.
Knapsack emerges as an economic wonder due to carbide, phosphorus, chlorine and organic chemistry. The new works area Hürth is founded. Acetylene gradually loses its importance as a raw material. Environmental protection becomes a work area in its own right.
New work areas at the Hoechst Plant Knapsack – the further development of specialty, synthetic and crop protection product manufacture.
Chemical production peaks: In 1985, sales of two billion German marks are achieved with organic chemicals, chlorine, carbide and phosphorus products, as well as specialty chemicals, plastics and crop protection products.
Reorganization of the Hoechst corporation, initiated by the former Chairman of the Board, Jürgen Dormann. The Chemical Park Knapsack and InfraServ Knapsack are founded. The Hoechst era comes to an end. The open chemical park is a model for a new industrial structure. The Chemiepark Knapsack offers companies attractive production opportunities under one roof.
Restructuring of the chlorine industry and modernization to world-market standards; financial companies join as owners of Vinnolit, Basell and CABB; Celanese withdraws and the plants HDPE Basell, azo and Clariant’s SKS 6 are shut down.
Construction of the Depal plant Clariant; 2005: Start of construction of the combined cycle power plant; 2006: Start of construction of the refuse-derived fuel power plant; 2007: 100-year site anniversary.
The future continues ... New, major projects of the companies on site are proof of the future of the Chemiepark Knapsack and make the location even more attractive. New jobs are created and provide the people in the region with future prospects, as well as income for the municipalities.