MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical Corp., South Korean petrochemical major, is set to spend 602 billion won (USD501.5 million) in building eco-friendly materials plants at one of its petrochemical complexes in the country, according to Kemicalinfo.
Lotte said on Monday it agreed with a local government to invest in a battery electrolyte organic solvents factory as well as carbon capture and utilization (CCU) facility at its petrochemical complex in Daesan, about 140 kilometers southwest of Seoul.
“This investment is a key step in ‘Green Promise 2030’ to expand eco-friendly and specialty chemical materials such as battery electrolyte organic solvents and carbon dioxide capture projects,” Lotte’s basic materials business head Hwang Jin-gu said in a statement.
Lotte plans to build a plant to produce organic solvents - high-purity ethylene carbonate (EC) and di-methyl carbonate (DMC) - for electrolytes, a key material for lithium-ion batteries. South Korea totally relies on imports for organic solvents that make up about 30% of the electrolytes’ total cost.
The company decided to set up a facility that captures and liquefies 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide with a target of commercialization in the second half of 2023. The carbon dioxide processed in the facility will be used as materials for the high-purity EC and DMC, as well as sold as materials for semicon-ductor cleaning liquid.
In addition, Lotte will expand the production capacity of ethylene oxide adduct, a high-value-added construction material, to 480,000 tons a year from 330,000 tons.
Meanwhile, Lotte plans to triple liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) use for ethylene production at the Daesan complex as the domestic industry rushed to diversify feedstock for cost-cutting amid expecta-tions of lower naphtha supply from local refineries, which aim petrochemical markets. It will ramp up LPG cracking at the complex to about 30% from the current 10%.
That is a part of the company’s plan to increase LPG usage announced in July 2021, a company source said. At that time, Lotte said it will invest 140 billion won in domestic facilities to raise the gas usage for ethylene output to 40% by the end of this year from 20%. It operates ethylene plants in Daesan and Yeosu with a combined annual capacity of 2.3 million tons.
As MRC reported before, Lotte Chemical plans to take off-stream its naphtha cracker in Yeosu for a scheduled maintenance this year. The company is expected to put its Yeosu naphtha cracker under scheduled maintenance around May or June, 2022. Lotte's Yeosu naphtha cracker can produce 1.2 million tonnes per year (tpy) of ethylene.
Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,265,290 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2021, up by 14% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,363,850 tonnes in January-November, 2021, up by 25% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.
Lotte Chemical runs two naphtha crackers in South Korea. One cracker is located in Daesan county in Seosan which can produce 1.1 million tonnes per year of ethylene with the other 1.2 million tonnes per year cracker in the southwestern city of Yeosu.