MOSCOW (MRC) -- Elkem (Oslo, Norway) says it will invest 180.0 million Norwegian krone (USD19.7 million) in a new plant in Canada to pilot an industrial biocarbon process specifically for silicon and ferrosilicon production, said Chemweek.
The plant will be constructed near Elkem’s production site at Chicoutimi, Quebec, with start of construction planned for the second half of 2020, the company says. The project has received financial support from the Canadian government, the Quebec government, and the city of Saguenay, reducing Elkem’s net investment to NKr60 million, it says.
The aim of the initiative is to secure industrial verification of Elkem’s technology for renewable biocarbon, with a long-term goal of contributing to climate-neutral metal production, the company says. The technology has the potential for application in other industry sectors, contributing to reduced CO2 emissions, Elkem says. Based on conclusions from the pilot plant, Elkem will evaluate the basis for a full-scale plant.
“With this new biocarbon pilot plant in Canada, we aim to secure long-term access to low-cost, high-quality renewable biocarbon to replace fossil coal, and further improve our competitive position for a sustainable future. In addition, we see a potential for scaling up this technology to other industries—helping reduce emissions,” says Michael Koenig, CEO of Elkem.
Elkem already uses about 20% biocarbon in its production in Norway and the company is working toward increasing this to 40% by 2030, it says. Meanwhile, the company sources 83% of its of electricity consumption from renewable energy. The pilot plant will source raw materials from local sawmills in Canada, including recycled bark, wood chips, sawdust, and wood shaves, with more than 2 million green tons (Gt) of potential raw material already produced within 100 kilometers of the Chicoutimi area in Quebec, the company says.
Elkem also sees potential for biocarbon technology to be customized for use in the steel industry as a replacement for coke as a reduction agent, it says. "Studies have shown that biocarbon can perform even better than fossil coal in production, and at the same time reduce the carbon footprint,” says Jean Villeneuve, head/biocarbon business at Elkem.
The company is also involved in several activities related to biocarbon, in Norway and other countries around the world, to develop competitive and sustainable sources of biocarbon, as well as longer-term R&D projects, Elkem says. Its plant in Paraguay achieved 100% sustainable biocarbon in its production of ferrosilicon in 2019, the company says.
As MRC informed earlier, a consortium of industrial companies, including BASF, universities and research institutes recently launched project RECOBA (Cross-sectorial REal time sensing, advanced COntrol and optimization of BAtch processes, saving energy and raw materials). Under the project coordination of BASF SE, the RECOBA partners include ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG, Germany; ELKEM AS Technology, Norway; University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; RWTH Aachen University, Germany; University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, Czech Republic; the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain; VDEh-Betriebsforschungsinstitut GmbH, Germany; Cybernetica AS, Norway; and Minkon Sp. z o.o., Poland.
As MRC reported before, in early December 2019, on the margins of the meeting at SIBUR’s PolyLab R&D Centre, SIBUR, the largest petrochemical comples in Russia and Eastern Europe, and BASF, Geman petrochemical major, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing their partnership on sustainable development and circular economy agenda further to the companies’ environmental talks held back in June 2019. The memorandum is set to strengthen the partners’ commitment to long-term sustainable development goals. BASF and SIBUR agreed to collaborate more closely on water efficiency, carbon footprint management and chemicals recycling along with joining forces in implementing international environmental initiatives.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PET consumption totalled 367,720 tonnes in the first six months of 2020, up by 19% year on year. Russian companies processed 62,910 tonnes in June. Russian plants reduced their PET output in January-June 2020 by 25% year on year. Overall PET chips production at four Russian plants reached 281,100 tonnes in January-June 2020.