Evonik Industries has started up new production plants for C4-based products in the Marl Chemical Park in Germany. First time the company make use of a new process, which utilizes special material streams from refineries for production of C4 chemicals.
Evonik Industries has started up new production plants for C4-based products in the Marl Chemical Park, Germany. This expansion of production in Marl is part of a capacity expansion throughout Europe for C4-based products, in which Evonik has invested a three-digit million € amount in total.
At the heart of the new plants at Evonik’s largest site is the widely visible 90-meter column, the highest within the specialty chemicals company. This is a symbol of a new technology that, for the first time anywhere in the world, utilizes special material streams from refineries for production of C4 chemicals. These streams are supplied by the neighboring BP refinery in Gelsenkirchen.
In addition to the expansion in Marl, Evonik has also invested in the C4 activities in Antwerp, Belgium, where the plants in question went on stream in the second quarter of 2015. The new production facilities have resulted in capacity expansion for the plasticizer alcohol isononanol in Marl, butadiene in Antwerp, and the fuel additive MTBE in both Marl and Antwerp. Johann-Caspar Gammelin, Chairman of the Board of Management of Evonik Performance Materials GmbH, says: "Our investments are supporting the growth plans of our customers in Europe and worldwide. Market analyses show that global demand for these products is growing by up to 5 percent annually."
Technological milestone in Marl
The Marl plant also marks a technological milestone for Evonik. Thanks to an entirely new process worldwide, FCC-C4 material streams can be used for production of a wider range of chemicals. As Gammelin explains: "The new technology significantly expands our raw-material base. It gives us access to raw-material streams that have so far not been used for downstream chemical processing." The steam or naphtha cracker has so far been the major source for extraction of basic petrochemicals. However, there are significantly more FCC crackers than steam crackers worldwide.
FCC stands for fluid catalytic cracking. With the help of this process, refineries transform heavy crude oil components in fuel components. Fluid catalytic cracking produces a C4 material stream that, besides the components that can be used for chemical processing (olefins), contains further accompanying substances. The industry has therefore so far not used this FCC-C4 material stream.
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