Austrian polyolefins manufacturer Borealis AG is investing approximately €1bn in a new “world-scale” propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant in Antwerp, Belgium, the company has announced.
To be built at Borealis’ existing production site in Kallo, Antwerp, the PDH plant will have a targeted production capacity of 750 kilotonnes tonne per annum (ktpa) and is set for start up in the second half of 2022, a company spokesman told PNE.
Borealis has described the proposed facility as “one of the largest and most efficient facilities in the world”, saying it would use Honeywell UOP’s Oleflex technology for the new plant.
This technology is widely used and is a reliable and sustainable choice for on-purpose propylene production.
The Kallo location was selected due to its “excellent logistical position, its experience in propylene production and handling and the synergies with the existing PDH unit”, Borealis added in a 6 Oct statement.
Propylene is a key building block for plastics production.
Oiltanking Antwerp Gas Terminal has been agreed upon as the long-term logistics partner for the handling of propylene and propane as well as for the construction of a new 135,000-m³ propane storage tank.
The hydrogen by-product of the dehydrogenation process will be sold to Air Liquide under a long-term agreement, Borealis added.
“This important investment in our European assets fully supports our strategy to be a leading supplier of innovative polypropylene solutions and propylene to our customers in Europe,” commented Alfred Stern, Borealis chief executive.
With the move, said Stern, the company is reinforcing its to support to customers in Europe.
“In Europe, polypropylene supply is not keeping up with increasing demand. With the market tightening and the continuous application expansion for PP materials, additional investment is needed to ensure a reliable platform for continuous, long-term growth in polypropylene”, said Maria Ciliberti, Borealis vice president marketing & NBD in an interview with PNE last year.
While the new PDH plant represents another significant European investment for Borealis, they are not the only company looking to expand their petrochemical capacity in Europe. Another is Dow Chemical: that company said last May that it will build a 450ktpa polyolefins plant in the region to serve the high-pressure pipe market. The Dow facility will be the first new polyolefins plant Western Europe has seen since the late 2000s.
And, in June last year, INEOS also announced plans to construct a world-scale PDH unit in Europe. This plant will produce 750ktpa of propylene for INEOS units across the continent. INEOS currently produces nearly 4.5 million tonnes of ethylene and propylene across Europe but remains the largest buyer of ethylene and propylene in the region.