Chemicals company LyondellBasell and Covestro AG have kicked off a large investment project at their production site on the Maasvlakte in the Netherlands, to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 140 kilotonnes per annum.
The Maasvlakte site, in the port of Rotterdam, is a 50:50 joint venture between the two companies, producing propylene oxide (PO) and styrene monomer (SM), based on the unique PO/SM technology of LyondellBasell.
The Circular Steam Project, which kicked off at the site 4 Sept, incorporates an innovative technology into the existing production plant to convert its water-based waste into energy.
As part of the project, a new bio plant and incinerator will be built on the Maasvlakte site, in which the production's waste will be treated in two steps and transformed into steam.
The steam will be used as an energy source in the existing on-site production plant, thus making it a circular process.
The new installation, the two companies announced, will result in an overall annual reduction of approximately 140ktpa of CO2 emissions, 0.9 Petajoule of energy and avoiding the release of 11 million kilograms of salt residue into the surface water. As far as the technology used is concerned, not everything is new; instead, it is a new way of using existing technology. Patents have been filed and in the future, they will try to licence it, once this ‘showpiece' project has proven a success.
The project is a massive one, the two partners emphasised, speaking at the press conference prior to the opening ceremony. While parts of the new installation will be able to be built off-site, much of the work and the actual ‘hook-up' with the existing plant is targeted for next year, during the planned turnaround, said LyondellBasell's divisional vice president Fuels, Willemien Terpstra.
“A turnaround is planned, meticulously in every detail, long in advance, once every five years,” she said. “This project must be executed with absolute precision regarding scheduling, as otherwise, the costs will be exorbitant. The plant itself is expected to be completely up and running in 2020.”
Asked about the cost-effectiveness of the investment, Klaus Schaefer, CTO Covestro explained that, when undertaking a project like this, the company looks at three parameters: People, Planet and Profit. Obviously, the project will not make a loss. “But,” he explained: “In this case, planet is great. People is good – the project will also create jobs. Profit, well, that is borderline.”
“But it is the right thing to do,” added Jean Gadbois, senior vice president manufacturing Europe, Asia and International of LyondellBasell.
The project is an important contribution to the Dutch CO2 reduction targets and has received support from the government.
"The Dutch government's support is pivotal to the viability of innovative projects like this Circular Steam Project, which will allow us to realise an annual CO2 reduction equal to taking 31,000 cars off the road," said Gadbois.
The annual energy saving contribution of the project can roughly be equal to electricity use 90,000 households, Gadbois added.
Image: The official start of the new investment project of LyondellBasell and Covestro was marked by a ceremony. Dr. Klaus Schäfer (Sixth from left), Chief Technology of Covestro, was among various stakeholders to kick off the project.