MOSCOW (MRC) -- The ORLEN Group’s ORLEN Poludnie signed a contract for the construction in Trzebinia of Poland’s first unit producing eco-friendly propylene glycol. The new unit’s annual capacity will be 30,000 tonnes, covering 75% of Poland’s total demand, said the comany.
Propylene glycol is a safe and environmentally-friendly product, with applications in medicine, cosmetics and the food industry. The project will be carried out by a consortium of two Polish companies at an estimated cost of approximately PLN 400m.
“In line with our previous declarations, we are developing and strengthening through investments the various companies of the ORLEN family. The construction of Poland’s first unit producing environmentally-friendly glycol is a major step in transforming our plant in Trzebinia into an advanced bio-refinery. Its main focus will be on eco-friendly, high-margin products,” said Daniel Obajtek, President of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN.
The Trzebinia project will see its completion in 2021 and will be constructed by a consortium formed by two Polish companies: Technik Polska Sp. z o.o. and Biproraf Sp. z o.o. The turnkey contract provides for engineering, procurement and construction of a propylene glycol unit (1.2 – MPG) together with auxiliary systems and additional infrastructure.
The construction of Poland’s first unit for the production of environmentally-friendly propylene glycol will strengthen ORLEN Poludnie’s position both as a player on the Polish biocomponents market and an employer in the region. Today ORLEN Poludnie has a workforce of over 650, more than a half of them employed at the refinery in Trzebinia. After the unit is placed in commercial operation in 2021, several dozen new jobs will be created.
The manufacture of eco-friendly propylene glycol will help utilise Trzebinia’s glycerine output, which is a by-product of biodiesel obtained mainly from rapeseed oil. The project will also benefit other Polish biodiesel producers, from whom ORLEN Poludnie will source glycerine following project completion.
The project can be pursued thanks to the company’s sound financial condition: in 2018 ORLEN Poludnie posted a net profit of PLN 89m. The propylene glycol unit, as the first project in ORLEN Poludnie’s history, has qualified for inclusion in the Polish Investment Zone programme by the Krakow Technology Park.
The propylene glycol output will be sold both to Polish and foreign companies.
As MRC informed earlier, in H1 September 2019, Honeywell announced that PKN ORLEN had licensed the UOP MaxEne process, which can increase production of ethylene and aromatics and improve the flexibility of gasoline production. The project, for the PKN ORLEN facility in Plock, Poland, currently is in the basic engineering stage. Honeywell UOP, a leading provider of technologies for the oil and gas industry, first commercialized the UOP MaxEne process in 2013. The process enables refiners and petrochemical producers to direct molecules within the naphtha feed to the processes that deliver the greatest value and improve yields of fuels and petrochemicals.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polyprolypele (PP).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,255,800 tonnes in the first seven months of 2019, up by 9% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. At the same time, the estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 796,120 tonnes in January-July 2019, up by 11% year on year. Shipments of PP block copolymer and homopolymer PP increased.
PKN ORLEN would be the first refining and petrochemicals company in Europe to use the Honeywell UOP MaxEne technology for molecule management of a naphtha stream to produce high-quality products including olefins, aromatics and gasoline.