Evonik further expands production capacity for gas separation membranes

Evonik further expands production capacity for gas separation membranes

MRC -- Evonik will further expand capacity for production of its SEPURAN hollow fiber membranes in Schorfling and Lenzing, Austria, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The specialty chemicals company already put into operation a new hollow fiber spinning facility in Schorfling at the beginning of the year. On the occasion of today's ceremonial opening of this plant, Evonik Chief Executive officer Christian Kullmann announced the construction of a further production line: "We are going full throttle for the green transformation and are investing a mid-double-digit million euro amount as the next step to grow our membranes business." Construction in Schorfling and Lenzing is scheduled to start in early 2024, with completion planned for the first half of 2025.

The growth of the membrane business clearly follows the Group's strategy. "We invest in innovative green technologies that offer superior sustainability benefits to our customers," says Kullmann. "The dynamic development of the membrane business shows that the green transformation is underway and that we are playing a key role in it."

By 2030, Evonik aims to increase the proportion of revenue generated by Next Generation Solutions to more than 50 percent from currently 43 percent. Next Generation Solutions are products with demonstrably superior sustainability benefits.

With membranes for the treatment of biogas and the extraction of hydrogen, for example, Evonik is making an important contribution to the defossilization of the energy industry. The trend towards renewable energy is driving the steadily growing demand in the membrane business.

At the heart of Evonik's SEPURAN membrane technology are fine hollow fibers based on a high-performance plastic that can withstand extreme pressure and temperature loads. The upcoming capacity expansion includes construction of an additional plant for spinning hollow fibers and the expansion of the infrastructure necessary for producing membrane modules at the Schorfling site. The neighboring site in Lenzing will expand production of the required raw material (high-performance plastic).

"The planned production expansion for SEPURAN membranes will create around 50 new jobs in Lenzing and Schorfling," says site manager Jean-Marc Chassagne. "The investment strengthens the site's importance on international markets. With the innovative technology from Upper Austria, Evonik is driving the global transformation toward a sustainable gas economy."

Evonik’s production in Schorfling at the Attersee is already powered entirely by renewable energy. Nothing but green electricity from wind, hydropower, or biomass fuels the production facility for SEPURAN membranes. Since the beginning of 2022, the specialty chemicals company is also covering 100 percent of its gas requirements with biomethane from regional production. By switching to environmentally friendly energy, Evonik is reducing its direct CO2 emissions in Upper Austria by around 5,000 metric tons a year.

Since the first products were presented in 2011, Evonik has steadily developed the SEPURAN membranes business. Within twelve years, it became a globally recognized technology leader for efficient gas separation. To date, Evonik has supplied membranes to more than 1,000 reference plants worldwide for the biogas market alone.

SEPURAN hollow fiber membranes can separate gases such as methane (CH4), nitrogen (N2), and hydrogen (H2) particularly efficiently from gas mixtures. The advantage of Evonik's membrane technology lies in the more precise separation of gases and in higher productivity. SEPURAN N2 membranes for efficient nitrogen production are used, for example, for inerting aircraft tanks. SEPURAN Noble membranes extract the hydrogen transported through the natural gas pipelines from the CH4/H2-gas mixture selectively at the H2 take-off points. SEPURAN NG membranes enable efficient natural gas processing from sources with high CO2 concentration. SEPURAN Green membranes enable efficient biogas upgrading from organic and circular substrates.

We remind, Evonik is one step closer to its goal of closing the material cycle in the polyurethane industry: The company has joined forces with the REMONDIS Group, one of the world's leading recycling companies to secure the supply of end-of-life mattress foams.

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Russia surpasses UAE as India's top naphtha supplier amid discounts

Russia surpasses UAE as India's top naphtha supplier amid discounts

MRC -- Russia has overtaken the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to become India's top naphtha supplier, data shows, as New Delhi takes advantage of discounted Russian oil products and the re-routing of trade flows in the aftermath of Moscow's Ukraine invasion, said Reuters.

The nearby UAE had long been India's top source of imported naphtha, used to manufacture petrochemicals that end up as plastics and polyester fibres, while India previously bought little Russian naphtha because of high logistical costs. But this year, discounted Russian supplies in the aftermath of the EU's sanctions on Moscow's fuel imports as well as the higher cost of natural gas, an alternative feedstock for petrochemical makers, has found eager naphtha buyers among bargain-hunting Indian plants.

India shipped in 2.1 million metric tons of naphtha in January-September, Vortexa data showed, of which 37% or 770,000 tons were Russian origin product, compared with 154,000 tons for all of 2022. By comparison, Vortexa said naphtha supplies to India from the UAE dipped to 686,000 tons in January-September from about 697,000 tonnes in the first nine months of last year.

LSEG data showed about 750,000 tons of Russian naphtha imports by India in the first nine months of 2023, up from only around 185,000 tons in all of 2022 and one or two small parcels in 2019 and 2017. The LSEG showed India imported about 670,000 tons of naphtha from the UAE in January to September, down from around 726,000 tons in the same period last year.

Despite this year's surge in buying, India ranks only seventh among importers of Russian naphtha, according to data from ship-tracker Kpler, and is itself a major naphtha producer and exporter. Most of the Russian naphtha was imported by Reliance Industries, operator of the world's largest oil refining complex, according to LSEG and Kpler data. Reliance started buying naphtha from Russia in September last year and the volume increased after imposition of the fuel price cap by western nations and the EU embargo, ship-tracking data showed.

Another petrochemical producer, HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd (HMEL), has been using naphtha instead of natural gas because of higher gas prices at its cracker in Bathinda, which can produce 1.2 million tons per year of petrochemicals, that was commissioned in the first quarter, said a source at HMEL. "It (Russian naphtha) is definitely cheaper than UAE and hence it makes economic sense to buy from them," the source said.

Kpler data showed HMEL imported about 186,000 tons of naphtha this year at the port of Mundra in western India from the Russian ports of Ust Luga and Sheskharis. LSEG data showed about 207,000 tons of Russian naphtha landed at Mundra. HMEL's communication office did not respond to Reuters' request for a comment.

India's naphtha imports are expected to rise further as new petrochemical projects are commissioned and planned refinery maintenance boosts demand for blending with gasoline, analysts and traders said. Asia's third-largest economy is forecast to triple petrochemical consumption by 2040 to 80 million tons per year.

We remind, Private Russian oil producer Lukoil will lend Azeri state oil firm Socar $1.5 B as part of a broader deal that will allow Socar's 200,000-barrel-per-day Turkish STAR refinery to process Russian crude again, three industry sources familiar with the deal said on Thursday. The deal will give Lukoil another customer in close proximity to Russian ports after most European refiners stopped importing its crude to comply with European Union sanctions imposed after Moscow launched what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine in 2022.

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Putin orders regulated prices for fuel oil, Russia's export ban stays

Putin orders regulated prices for fuel oil, Russia's export ban stays

MRC -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to provide state funds to ensure a smooth heating season, including the introduction of regulated prices for fuel oil supplied for household heating in some regions, as per Reuters.

Russia has been tackling shortages and high fuel prices in recent month. Fuel oil is in high demand for the Arctic and other regions, which are facing a severe winter. The document, published on the Kremlin web site, said the government will provide funds for Murmansk and other Arctic regions to prepare for the heating season of 2023/2024, and for "the introduction of price regulation for fuel oil supplied for the heating season".

Despite being one of the world's top oil producers, Russia has suffered high domestic prices and shortages of gasoline and diesel in recent months as high export prices made it advantageous for refiners to sell their products abroad.

Russia on Sept. 21 introduced a ban on fuel exports to fight high gasoline and diesel prices as well as fuel shortages during harvesting season. There is no time frame for the restrictions to be lifted. The Kremlin said on Thursday there was no deadline for lifting the ban and the restrictions would be in place for as long as needed.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, also told reporters that other measures to ensure the stability of the fuel market would be considered once the ban was lifted. "The government has already repeatedly noted... that there is no deadline here, the ban will continue as necessary. Once there is no longer a need for this, other measures will be considered," he said.

The government has been considering hiking of export duty for resellers and introduction of export quotas, similar to the measures on the sales of fertilizers. Since the ban was introduced, wholesale diesel prices on the local exchange have fallen by 21%, while gasoline prices are down 10%.

That has not yet translated into the same scale of retail prices decline, while Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, Putin's point man on the oil business, has said that the ban has started to yield positive results. The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) said on Thursday that it had sent instructions to oil companies ordering them to cut oil products prices.

"In the absence of measures taken by organizations, FAS will consider them as signs of a violation of antimonopoly legislation," it said in a statement.

We remind, Russian oil producer Lukoil will lend Azeri state oil firm Socar $1.5 B as part of a broader deal that will allow Socar's 200,000-barrel-per-day Turkish STAR refinery to process Russian crude again, three industry sources familiar with the deal said on Thursday. The deal will give Lukoil another customer in close proximity to Russian ports after most European refiners stopped importing its crude to comply with European Union sanctions imposed after Moscow launched what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine in 2022.

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Technip Energies awarded an advanced biofuels unit and a green hydrogen unit at Galp Sines Refinery

Technip Energies awarded an advanced biofuels unit and a green hydrogen unit at Galp Sines Refinery

MRC -- Technip Energies has been awarded Engineering, Procurement Services and Construction Management contracts by Galp for an advanced biofuels unit and a green hydrogen unit for its Sines refinery in Portugal, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Both projects are part of Galp’s program to reduce the carbon footprint of the refinery and its products. The Advanced Biofuels Unit, promoted by the joint venture of Galp (75%) and Mitsui (25%), will have a 270 ktpa capacity and will produce renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from bio-feedstock and waste residues and will allow Galp to avoid c. 800 ktpa of greenhouse gas emissions. For this unit, Technip Energies will work in consortium with Technoedif Engenharia, a large engineering firm in Portugal, to complete the EPsCm project.

The Green Hydrogen Unit, composed of a 100 MW electrolysis plant, will produce up to 15 ktpa of renewable hydrogen, using proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers which will be supplied by Plug Power. This unit will allow the replacement of c. 20% of the existing grey hydrogen consumption of Sines refinery and will lead to greenhouse gas emissions reduction of c. 110 ktpa.

Both units represent a gross investment estimated at €650 million and will transform the Sines refinery into one of the most important low-carbon platforms in Portugal.

Marco Villa, Chief Operating Officer of Technip Energies, commented: “The Final Investment Decision for these two important projects is a major step taken by Galp to transform the refining industry in Portugal. Technip Energies, who has been supporting Galp strategy since the early phases of those two projects, is now delighted to be selected as a partner for the execution phase of both. This investment is another example of how Technip Energies enables the decarbonization of the energy industry through collaboration, innovation and technology integration”.

We remind, LanzaJet, a leading sustainable fuels technology company and sustainable fuels producer, and Technip Energies today announced an agreement to strengthen their exclusive collaboration to support the global deployment of the LanzaJet Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) Process technology.

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Borouge and Tadweer sign partnership to explore recycling opportunities in Abu Dhabi

Borouge and Tadweer sign partnership to explore recycling opportunities in Abu Dhabi

MRC -- Borouge, a leading petrochemical company that provides innovative and differentiated polyolefin solutions and Tadweer signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore opportunities in the management and adoption of best practices in waste management, sorting and mechanical recycling of polymers, said the company.

Tadweer, part of ADQ, is the sole custodian of waste management for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and is committed to developing an integrated waste management sector and becoming a leader in extracting value from waste to contribute to national sustainability ambitions.

Borouge and Tadweer will explore further opportunities in polymers waste sorting for mechanical recycling and the development of a sustainable ecosystem, to secure the generation of high-quality polymer recyclates using different technologies. Furthermore, the partners will join forces to establish business development and benchmarking frameworks which unlock value added business opportunities through potential joint investments in brown and greenfield assets. The agreement reinforces Borouge and Tadweer’s leading industry positions and supports their circular economy ambitions.

Both companies will be collaborating in supporting local regulatory frameworks related to the sustainable and efficient management of polymer waste. This includes the launch of public initiatives and campaigns to boost awareness about best practices in polymer waste management and recycling.

Committed to driving circularity for a zero-waste environment, Borouge has increased the number of strategic partnerships with recycling companies and expanded its product portfolio of sustainable solutions. Today, Borouge has 18 partnerships across eight countries serving its key territories in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, marking an important milestone in its ambitions towards realising its 2030 strategy.

Borouge is a responsible petrochemical company with a portfolio of sustainable solutions. The Company works with customers, suppliers and value chain partners to address global challenges, with a comprehensive roadmap to reduce emissions. In addition, Borouge collaborates with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi to combat a multitude of environmental issues related to waste management.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, Tadweer has built partnerships with leading global entities in Greece, Spain, Jordan, and more. These partnerships, which are focused on the exchange of knowledge and experience, contribute to driving a circular economy and achieving a sustainable future. Tadweer’s partners play a pivotal role in supporting the company to develop an integrated waste management system, in line with the UAE’s sustainability objectives.

We remind, Borouge PLC, a leading petrochemical company that provides innovative and differentiated polyolefin solutions, and Borealis, one of the world’s biggest polyolefin manufacturers, announced the launch of two new sustainable polymer products for the automotive industry, in line with both companies’ sustainability drive. Made from up to 70% recycled materials, these are the first sustainable products developed at Borouge’s Compounding Manufacturing Plant (CMP) located in Shanghai, China, which recently received ISO 14067 certification for carbon footprint assessment.

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