Two chemical firms plan to collectively invest $156 million to upgrade their plants in France. Solvay says it will put $115 million into completing the conversion of mercury-based chlor-alkali units to membrane-based technology at its facility in Tavaux, France. The firm put about $75 million into a partial conversion in 2008 (C&EN, Oct. 6, 2008, page 20). When the latest project is completed by the end of 2012, chlorine capacity will remain 360,000 metric tons per year, but electricity consumption will drop by 25%. Separately, Arkema plans to invest $41 million to build a new dimethylaminoethyl acrylate (DMAE) plant at its Carling, France, acrylics site. DMAE is used to create water treatment polymers. The new unit, which replaces an older one, will increase the site’s DMAE capacity by 30%. It will start up in the first half of 2012 to meet growing European and Asian demand, Arkema says. The investment includes replacement of a boiler to improve energy efficiency, the company adds.