Plants for intermediates also are being analyzed at the site in later phases as Wacker looks to vertically integrate operations.
"In further phases, production plants for other product groups could then be added for silane-terminated polymers," Wilhoit said.
While the scope of the feasibility study — a timeline for its completion was not known—does not include upstream raw materials such as siloxane, a monomer that only is produced by Dow in North America, Wacker said that could change in the years to come.
"Wacker does have the vision to eventually create a fully integrated production site which could include the upstream products such as siloxane and other intermediates in the long term," Wilhoit said.
A total capacity HCR increase at the Charleston site was not yet known, nor was a square footage for the expansion.
"Production capacity is one of the key metrics under investigation in the feasibility study and therefore under consideration," Wilhoit said. "We will disclose details as soon as the investment has been approved."
An expansion at the site would bring about 200 jobs in technical and chemical positions to operate the facility, such as operators, chemists, chemical engineers, and operations management, Wilhoit said.
The U.S. silicone market, according to market analyst Grand View Research Inc., is seeing strong growth at 4.3 percent CAGR through 2028 (about $14.4 billion in the U.S. in 2021).
Driving demand are the automotive, construction, medical, cosmetics, electronics and foodstuff industries.
"This business is of strategic importance to us," Wacker Chemie CEO Christian Hartel said in a statement announcing the Tennessee study. "Demand for high-performance specialty silicones is showing particularly strong growth. Such specialties enable innovative, tailor-made solutions in key industries such as automotive, construction, electronics and medical technology.
"By expanding our capacities, we aim to support our customers to the best of our ability."