Czech Republic: Engineering Orlen Unipetrol Invests 38 Million Dollars to Construct Dicyclopentadiene Production Unit
With the new production plant, Orlen Unipetrol has plans to launch dicyclopentadiene, a new product which can be used across the automotive, construction, electrical engineering, health care and the pharmaceutical industry.
Prague/Czech Republic – The largest domestic petrochemical company in Czech Republic has launched the construction of a unit to produce a brand-new product, dicyclopentadiene. This fluid hydrocarbon, abbreviated as DCPD, will be made using a technology developed by Orlen Unipetrol researchers with the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague. The product can be used in many automotive industry applications, construction industry, electrical engineering, health care and the pharmaceutical industry. The investment in the construction of the new production unit totals 38 million dollars (CZK 831 million). Orlen Unipetrol plans to manufacture up to 26,000 tons of dicyclopentadiene a year. The product is expected to be launched on the market in the second half of 2022. Orlen Unipetrol will open 20 new job positions to ensure the new operations.
“There has been a high demand for this product on global markets. Europe is currently seeing a deficit in DCPD production capacities. We expect the demand to grow by another 20 per cent by 2030. On the American markets, the demand may rise by 40 per cent, and in Asia, even by 60 per cent. That is why we have decided to invest in the construction of our own DCPD manufacturing technology. It is another example how our own R&D supports the business,” explains Tomasz Wiatrak, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Orlen Unipetrol Group. He adds: “This product launch will contribute to our margin increase and will help expand the product portfolio in the petrochemical segment.”
The technological process of DCPD isolation from the light pyrolysis petrol has been developed within a long-term strategic project using steam cracker’s secondary products. “The project aimed to find a method of isolating hydrocarbons that are secondary products in the petrochemistry units, have a higher added value and can find an application in the market. DCPD is one of the examples. Together with the team of Professor Josef Pašek of the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague, we designed a suitable production method and prepared a technology for DCPD’s isolation with a broad range of commercial quality. The installed capacity will be about 25 per cent of the total production in Europe,” says Tomáš Herink, a member of the Board of Directors of the Orlen Unipetrol Group responsible for production, research and development.
“Orlen Unipetrol’s collaboration with the University of Chemistry and Technology has had a long and successful tradition dating back to the 1990s. Our co-operation in research and implementation has always focused on the development of oil-processing and petrochemistry technologies. The technology of DCPD’s isolation developed in co-operation with our experts is a perfect example of interconnection between the academia’s and the industrial sector,” says Pavel Matějka, Rector of the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague.
Following the unit’s commissioning, Orlen Unipetrol will manufacture DCPD in the 80-94 % quality. The product will be usable in the follow-up production of polymer materials, resins or chemical specialities to produce glues, dyestuffs, automotive and marine components, optic fibres, special lenses, medical components, packaging materials, and sanitary products for kitchens and bathrooms.