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ACHEMA 2012: Trend Report Plant Engineering

Plant Engineering Between Individual Solutions and Container Modules

| Author / Editor: Dechema / Matthias Back

...In addition to a number of other new multi-million construction and expansion projects which run well into the double-digit range, expansion of the chemical cluster is planned at the Dutch Port of Rotterdam (approx. €10 billion) and BASF has announced a €9 to €10 billion investment at its Ludwigshafen, Germany, site. The company hit the headlines in January 2012 when it gave the green light to construction of a production complex for the flexible foam precursor toluene diisocyanate (TDI). The project is scheduled for completion in 2014, and the cost of the project is estimated at around €1 billion.

Synergies in Plant Projects Become Increasingly Important

This project illustrates a number of paradigm shifts in the chemical industry and in plant engineering, procurement and construction. Now that chemical producers have made sustainability and energy efficiency a major strategic priority, synergies in production at the sites are becoming increasingly important. “The investment decision on the TDI facility was based on more than just the production operation per se. The evaluation process included a holistic assessment of the energy and heat flows at the Ludwigshafen site,” explained Peter M. Gress who is head of engineering at BASF. The company plans to leverage advantages of scale and efficient integration in order to become Europe’s most cost-efficient TDI producer. Claas-Jürgen Klasen, who is in charge of Process Technology & Engineering at Evonik, shares the view that synergies on site are becoming increasingly important. “The central infrastructure at chemical parks provides opportunities for enhanced integration of energy and material resource utilization, which is why these parks are playing an increasingly important role in the industry.”

Owner's engineers have outgrown the role of internal service departments at chemical companies. Their goal is to add value to the corporation. What may sound like marketing hype actually has real substance. Investment projects do not run in isolation. Instead, they are designed to make the greatest overall contribution. Higher investment costs may be deemed acceptable if for example integrated heat management which includes other opera-tions at the site can reduce overall energy consumption.

„Owners Engineers“ – The Goal is To Add Value...

Claas-Jürgen Klasen outlined the differences between conventional EPC and owner’s engineering as follows: “To come up with the best technical solution, you need a detailed understanding of the markets, the specific product requirements profile, the raw material markets and overall production costs”. Jürgen Hinderer, head of engineering at Bayer Technology Services, agrees: “Completion on time and within budget in compliance with all of the quality and safety parameters requires a joint effort by the users, our highly skilled and experienced international engineering team and our suppliers throughout all phases of the project. That is what differentiates owner’s engineers from other engineering and construction companies. The customer's money is our money“.

In November 2011, Bayer MaterialScience opened a large TDI plant (250 kT/a) in Shanghai, PR China. Production is based on new technology (gas phase phosgenation). Technology and scale-up are not the primary considerations on the TDI project in Ludwigshafen....

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