Plant Watch Top 10 Engineering Projects of July 2022

From Lonza, Shell, Covestro, Hycc, Air Liquide, BASF, Technip Energies, Total Energies, Solvay, Ineos

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PROCESS Worldwide brings to you the ‘Top 10 plant engineering projects of July 2022’ from all over the world. Right from Lonza developing a large-scale fill & finish facility for commercial drug products to Shell building Europe’s largest renewable hydrogen plant, find out all the projects making headlines here.

The next construction phase at BASF’s Zhanjiang Verbund site will focus on the core of the Verbund, a steam cracker and several downstream plants.
The next construction phase at BASF’s Zhanjiang Verbund site will focus on the core of the Verbund, a steam cracker and several downstream plants.
(Source: BASF)

Lonza to Build Large-Scale Fill & Finish Facility for Commercial Drug Products

July 02 – The global development and manufacturing partner to the pharma, biotech and nutrition industries, Lonza, announced plans to construct a large-scale commercial drug product fill and finish facility in Stein, Switzerland.

The investment will enable the company to provide customers with a complete and integrated end-to-end solution that includes commercial drug product manufacturing for large-scale market supply. The new facility will be delivered through an investment of approximately 520 million dollars and is expected to be completed in 2026.

The new flexible facility will be constructed in Stein, Switzerland on the same campus as Lonza’s current clinical drug product facility, allowing the company to leverage the existing infrastructure, capabilities and talent.

According to the company, the facility will embrace the latest developments in sustainable construction, taking a modern approach to carbon reduction and responsible energy use, including the installation of a photovoltaic roof.

Shell to Start Building Europe’s Largest Renewable Hydrogen Plant

July 07 – A new 200-MW-electrolyzer will be constructed on the Tweede Maasvlakte in the port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and will produce up to 60,000 kilograms of renewable hydrogen per day. The renewable power for the electrolyzer will come from the offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust (noord), which is partly owned by Shell.

The renewable hydrogen produced will supply the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam, by way of the Hytransport pipeline, where it will replace some of the grey hydrogen usage in the refinery. This will partially decarbonize the facility’s production of energy products like petrol and diesel and jet fuel. As heavy-duty trucks are coming to market and refuelling networks grow, renewable hydrogen supply can also be directed toward these to help in decarbonizing commercial road transport.

Two New PUD Production Plants Complement Covestro's Largest Production Site

July 09 – Two new plants for the production of polyurethane dispersions and elastomers are being built at Covestro's Shanghai site. The new plant for PUDs and another line for polyester resins, from which PUDs are produced, are scheduled for completion in 2024.

The new line for polyurethane elastomers, which are widely used in the offshore wind, solar energy and materials handling industries, is scheduled to come on stream as early as 2023. The market for these flexible and durable materials is growing faster than gross domestic product and downstream industries in China and Asia Pacific.

Since 2001, Covestro has invested 3.5 billion dollars to build its integrated site in Shanghai, which includes eleven facilities and is the company's largest site worldwide.

500-Megawatt Hydrogen Project Launched in the Port of Amsterdam

July 13 – The use of green hydrogen is crucial to reduce emissions from industries such as steel, chemicals and aviation. With the H2era project, Hycc together with the Port of Amsterdam can produce an important part of the hydrogen locally and lay the foundation for a sustainable hydrogen economy in the region.

The company intends to start operations of the new plant in the Amsterdam port area in 2027. Hycc and the Port of Amsterdam have completed a first feasibility study and the project will be further developed in the coming months during the study phase (pre-Feed).

H2era will produce green hydrogen and oxygen from renewable electricity and water in a process called electrolysis. Discussions are currently underway with various parties to use the hydrogen for the decarbonization of industries in the region. In addition, the hydrogen can be used for green mobility. In the future, the new plant can also be connected to a national pipeline network to enable exchange of hydrogen between industrial clusters.

Hycc is also working with Port of Amsterdam and Tata Steel on a 100 megawatt plant at the site of Tata Steel IJmuiden, called project H2ermes.

Air Liquide to Build Two Hydrogen Production Units with CO2 Capture Technology

July 20 – Two new hydrogen production units to be built by Air Liquide in Shanghai’s Chemical Industry Park are designed to bring significant environmental benefits. They are designed to replace current supply from a third party coal-based gasification unit, will be equipped with CO2 capture and recycle technology and will be connected to Scipig existing local network. These two units will come in addition to two other hydrogen units and four air separation units that Scipig already operates in the Park.

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Through more than 15 year-long contracts, these units will produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide for the supply to Covestro China and Shanghai Lianheng Isocyanate Company (SLIC, a joint-venture led by BASF and Huntsman) in the Park, as well as mobility, other industrial and electronics customers in the Yangtze River Delta megalopolis. The two units will have a total hydrogen (H2) production capacity of around 70,000 Nm3/h. They will be equipped with units to capture and recycle carbon dioxide (CO2) to contribute to the production of carbon monoxide (CO) for a total capacity of 28,000 Nm3/h.

Planned to be operational in phases, starting from the year end 2023, the two Steam Methane Reformers (SMR), will be designed and built by Air Liquide Engineering & Construction. They would not only replace a third party coal-based gasification unit, but will also be equipped with CO2 recycle units and connected to the existing Scipig local network. This will avoid the emission of 350,000 tons of CO2 per year, which is comparable to the equivalent electricity-related emissions of one million Chinese households. Connecting the production units to Scipig’s local pipeline network will further enhance the reliability and flexibility of gas supply.

BASF Gives Final Approval for Construction of Zhanjiang Verbund Site

July 21 – Chemicals company BASF gave final approval for the construction of the planned Verbund site in Zhanjiang in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. The project is on schedule, the group announced. The focus will now be on building the core of the Verbund, which includes a steam cracker and several downstream plants for the production of petrochemicals and intermediates, among others. The company will invest up to ten billion euros (approx. 10.1 million dollars) by 2030 to build the new Verbund site.

In 2020, BASF started construction of the first plants at the planned integrated Verbund site in Zhanjiang, China, which will be its third-largest Verbund site worldwide after Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Antwerp, Belgium. The site will be built in several phases and is expected to be fully operational by 2030.

The first plant for the production of engineering plastics is currently starting up and a plant for the production of thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) will come on stream in 2023.

Technip Energies Awarded Contract for Renewable Products Refinery Expansion

July 23 – For the expansion of its existing renewables refinery in Rotterdam, Neste has awarded a contract covering Engineering, Procurement services and Construction management to Technip Energies. The expansion will increase Neste’s overall renewable product capacity by 1.3 million tons per year.

This contract follows the Front-End Engineering and Design (Feed) delivered by Technip Energies in 2021. The production process is based on Neste’s proprietary Nexbtl technology, which allows the conversion of renewable waste and residue raw materials like used cooking oil and animal fat waste into renewable fuels.

New Ethane Cracker from Baystar Close to Startup

July 23 – At Total Energies' refinery in Port Arthur, USA, Baystar's new ethane cracker will soon come on stream. The project involves an investment of two billion dollars and produces one million metric tons of ethylene per year. The ethylene produced by the cracker will serve as feedstock for Baystar's existing polyethylene plants, as well as for the new polyethylene plant with Borstar technology currently under construction in Bayport.

As part of the project, Borealis is using its proprietary Borstar technology for the first time. “This will enable Baystar to produce advanced polyethylene products for the most demanding applications,” explains Borealis CEO Thomas Gangl. The Baystar joint venture is a joint project between Borealis and Total Energies in the USA.

Solvay to Build New High-Purity Electronic Grade Hydrogen Peroxide Facility

July 27 – A new facility built by Solvay in Casa Grande, USA, will convert hydrogen peroxide into an ultra-high purity grade to clean silicon wafers that are needed to manufacture semiconductors, essential components of electronic devices. The new facility will be the company’s seventh eH2O2 unit.

The new facility will be fully powered using renewable electricity, in line with the company’s One Planet sustainability roadmap. Production equipment will be housed within an enclosed climate-controlled building using safe and proven technology already in use at other locations worldwide — including its site near Houston, Texas.

“This investment will grow our presence in the North American semiconductor market”, says Ilham Kadri, CEO of Solvay. “The new facility will help us to further tap into increasing demand from the domestic electronic industry, and our local customers will likewise gain even better access to our products and services. This will help us meet their increasing demand for chemicals that are essential for cleaning and etching large scale integrated circuits and semiconductors.”

The company purchased 25 acres of greenfield land within Casa Grande’s Central Arizona Commerce Park and construction of the first production line is scheduled to begin in 2023 with future expansions to be built as needed to support customer demand. The facility will create 30 full-time positions and Solvay expects to invest more than three million dollars per year on wages, maintenance and upgrades, employee training, taxes and other expenditures that benefit local businesses and the community.

Ineos Signs Billion-Dollar Deals with Sinopec

July 29 – Specialty chemicals group Ineos and Sinopec have signed three back-to-back agreements worth a total of seven billion dollars. The company expects these landmark agreements to bring in total sales of around ten billion euros at a capacity of seven million tons. The three agreements significantly change Ineos' petrochemical production and technology in China.

Firstly, the Group has agreed to acquire 50 % of Shanghai Secco Petrochemical Company, a subsidiary of Sinopec. Secco currently has a production capacity of 4.2 million tons of petrochemical products, including ethylene, propylene, polyethylene, polypropylene, styrene, polystyrene, acrylonitrile, butadiene, benzene and toluene. It is a 200 hectare plant located within the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park.

Furthermore, Ineos has agreed to establish a new 50:50 joint venture with Sinopec to build a production capacity of up to 1.2 million tons of ABS to meet growing demand in China. The 600 ktpa ABS plant in Ningbo, currently being built by Ineos Styrolution and scheduled to come on stream by the end of 2023, will be part of the joint venture. The partners also plan to collaborate on two additional 300 ktpa ABS plants, also to be built by the joint venture based on Ineos' world-leading Terluran ABS technology. One of these 300-kt plants will be located in Tianjin, while the location of the third plant is still open.

The third agreement calls for the formation of a 50:50 joint venture, to build a new 500 ktpa HDPE plant in Tianjin. In addition to the Tianjin plant, the two companies will build at least two other 500 ktpa capacity HDPE plants to produce licensed Ineos pipe. The Tianjin plant is scheduled to come on stream in late 2023.

The specialty chemicals group already has joint ventures in operation with Sinopec following its acquisition of BP's Acetyls and Aromatics business in January 2021. The two companies already know each other well through two decades of business interfaces at different levels and see closer cooperation as a logical conclusion. This close relationship will give the Chinese partner access to some of the best downstream technologies in the world, achieving a significant presence in China, the fastest growing market in the world.