The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Shihlien Chemical Industrial Jiangsu Co., Ltd., a vertically integrated subsidiary of Taiwan Glass Group, has come a long way since it started out producing sodium carbonate, also known as soda ash, for its parent company and ammonium chloride as co-product.

Founded in 2008, Shihlien has factories in Huai’an City in China’s Jinagsu province, where there is reportedly 130 billion tons of high-quality salt reserves underground.

In 2014, Shihlien’s Huai’an factory went into full production, producing 1 million tons of sodium carbonate and 1 million tons of ammonium chloride each year.

The company’s diversification has seen it branch into selling ammonium chloride — which is obtained through the process that produces sodium carbonate from sodium chloride, ammonia, carbon dioxide and water — as a fertilizer.

Another source of value added is set to come from the firm’s salt-producing factory, a facility currently can produce up to 1.2 million tons of vacuum salt annually. Salt and the Chlorine Tree It is well known in the salt industry that, there are more than 14,000 uses for salt. Not only can it be used directly in chemical processes, but its component elements — chlorine and sodium — can each be used separately as well.

It is the multipurpose nature of salt and chlorine that led to the coining of the term “chlorine tree” in the chemical industrial manufacturing field.

In layman’s terms, when the compound salt is converted to chlorine gas, it facilitates or undergoes chemical processes that produce catalysts, medical remedies, resin and other polymers.

These derivatives go on to become integral parts of industrial products. In particular, the chloralkali process — an industrial process for the electrolysis of sodium chloride — can produce sodium hydroxide and chlorine.

Shihlien with its secured salt resource in Huai’an and plans to exploit the versatility of this material for high value added products, shall bring about opportunities in boosting the demand for Shihlien’s business.