Borealis held the groundbreaking ceremony for its world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant. Located at the existing Borealis production site in Kallo, Belgium, the new facility will have a targeted production capacity of 750,000 m tpa of propylene, making it one of the largest and most efficient plants of its kind in the world.
With a total of around US$1.11 bln invested in the course of the project, the investment is the largest ever made by Borealis in Europe. It underscores the company’s commitment to its operations in the continent, and to being the supplier of choice to its European customers.
PDH is a vital process step in the production of propylene from propane. As one of the most important building blocks for the entire chemical industry, propylene is the raw material used to produce polypropylene (PP), which in turn is one of the most widely used plastics. PP forms the base of countless industrial applications used in any number of sectors, including automotive, consumer goods, energy, food packaging, healthcare, and many others.
European demand for propylene is growing, yet presently, supply is decreasing due to a confluence of global market developments. The start-up of the new Kallo plant, scheduled for the middle of 2022, means that European customers will soon be able to rely on the secure supply of competitively priced propylene and its derivatives.
Several factors influenced the Borealis decision to invest in the Kallo location. First, the economies of scale offered by the Port of Antwerp in Flanders are significant due to its well-established transportation and logistics infrastructure. Thanks to the adjacency to an existing Borealis production unit on site, Borealis will be able to exploit additional synergistic effects. Crucially, the new PDH plant will employ Honeywell UOP’s Oleflex technology, a widely used, reliable and sustainable choice for on-purpose propylene production. Above and beyond the increase in production capacity, the new plant is helping make Borealis operations become more efficient and sustainable. Using the Oleflex technology makes it possible to consume less energy in production, yet produce higher volumes of the same quality. Less propane will be required, but more own hydrogen will be produced, enabling Borealis to supply not only its own internal needs, but also those of third parties as well. Finally, the embedded, multi-fuel cogeneration unit in the new PDH plant will generate a significant part of the steam and electricity required for operations.