Plant Watch Top 10 Engineering Projects of September 2021

Editor: Ahlam Rais

PROCESS Worldwide brings to you the ‘Top 10 plant engineering projects of September 2021’ from all over the world. Right from building the world’s largest epichlorohydrin unit to investing 360 million dollars for establishing an API manufacturing unit, find out all the projects making headlines here.

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At a glance: Plant engineering projects from across the globe.
At a glance: Plant engineering projects from across the globe.
(Source: ©cat027 - stock.adobe.com)

USA: Topsoe Technology Chosen for Producing Renewable Gasoline

Topsoe will supply its Tigas and methanol synthesis technologies to Arbor Gas’ facility.
Topsoe will supply its Tigas and methanol synthesis technologies to Arbor Gas’ facility.
(Source: Haldor Topsoe)

Sept 03 – Arbor Renewable Gas (Arbor Gas) will use Topsoe’s Tigas technology for producing renewable gasoline. The use of this fuel by consumers avoids the emission of at least 250,000 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere every year. Topsoe will supply methanol synthesis technologies and the backend gasoline synthesis unit (Tigas) to the facility. The methanol synthesis loop is based on the modular MeOH-To-Go design.

“We are proud that Arbor Gas has chosen our technology for this truly innovative project to decarbonize transportation fuels. By contributing with our world-leading Tigas technology, a uniquely integrated solution, incorporating the full value chain from syngas to methanol into gasoline, we support Arbor Gas in their efforts to accelerate the U.S. transition to low carbon fuels, shaping a more diverse and sustainable transportation system,” said Fei Chen, Senior Vice President at Topsoe.

Arbor Gas is pursuing decarbonization solutions that make a real difference in the vast transportation fuels arena. The waste woody biomass will be converted into renewable gasoline and hydrogen by utilizing cutting-edge technology. By utilizing waste biomass as the feedstock, Arbor Gas achieves a double benefit by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise be produced from decaying wood and at the same time displacing the use of traditional hydrocarbon-based transportation fuels. The renewable gasoline will be for markets that value a low carbon fuel as a direct drop-in fuel.

Canada: Mitsubishi Teams Up with Shell for Blue Hydrogen Production

Planned location of the project.
Planned location of the project.
(Source: Mitsubishi Corporation)

Sept 09 – Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) and Shell Canada Products, by its managing partner, Shell Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding relating to the production of low-carbon hydrogen through the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) near Edmonton, Canada.

MC aims to build and start-up the low-carbon hydrogen facility near the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Scotford towards the latter half of this decade, and Shell would provide CO2 storage via the proposed Polaris CCS project. The low-carbon hydrogen, commonly called blue hydrogen, would be produced via a natural gas feedstock and exported mainly to the Japanese market to produce clean energy.

The first phase of the project aims to produce approximately 165,000 tons per annum of hydrogen with upside to increase production depending on considerations over future phases. The hydrogen would be converted to low-carbon ammonia for export to Asian market(s).

The project would be built near the Edmonton region, which this year was announced as Canada’s first hydrogen hub. The location was chosen due to availability of abundant natural gas resources, proven CO2 storage capacity, and shared infrastructure opportunities. By co-locating next to Shell Scotford, both companies will explore potential synergies such as land use and utilities integration. Close communication with stakeholders will be a key principle as the project proceeds in its development.

China: KVT Bags Technology Contract for World’s Largest Epichlorohydrin Unit

Sept 15 – Kanzler Verfahrenstechnik (KVT) has signed a major technology contract and license agreement for the delivery of the world´s biggest Glycerine based Epichlorohydrin production complex to be built in Qingdao, Shandong, China. KVT has announced that it has been awarded a contract by Qingdao Haiwan Chemical Co. (Haiwan Chemical) to license KVT's leading Epiprovit closed loop technology for a new Epichlorohydrin production plant.

Under the terms of the contract, KVT will provide the technology license, process design package, key equipment as well as technical and training services to Haiwan Chemical for building a greenfield 150,000 tons per year ECH-G plant in Shandong Province in China.

The Epichlorohydrin unit is supported by a 200.000 tons per year Glycerine refining unit and the related treatment unit for purification and recycling of waste brine resulting from saponification.

KVT has implemented the concept of green chemistry and circular economy into its design principles by utilizing renewable feedstocks and securing the internal reuse and recycling of waste streams. The Epiprovit cycle reflects this concept by utilizing crude Glycerine, a waste stream from the biodiesel production and excess Chlorine from Chlor-Alkali Units, for the production of Epichlorohydrin. The waste brine streams resulting from Glycerine and Epichlorohydrin production are purified in the integrated Seabrine unit and completely recycled to the Chlor-Alkali unit as feedstock for the production of Caustic Soda and Chlorine.

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Compared to the conventional fossil-based route, the Epiprovit concept leads to a 50 % increase of renewable feedstock in Epichlorohydrin production, a ten-fold reduction in waste water generation and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. Besides that, the generated waste water can be directly recycled and reused for the production of Caustic Soda and Chlorine without further treatment.

The Netherlands: Shell to Establish One of the Biggest Biofuels Unit in Europe

The Rotterdam biofuels facility is expected to start production in 2024.
The Rotterdam biofuels facility is expected to start production in 2024.
(Source: Shell)

Sept 17 – Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) has recently announced a final investment decision to build an 820,000-tons-a-year biofuels facility at the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam, the Netherlands, formerly known as the Pernis refinery. Once built, the facility will be among the biggest in Europe to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel made from waste. A facility of this size could produce enough renewable diesel to avoid 2,800,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions a year, the equivalent of taking more than 1 million European cars off the roads.

The new facility will help the Netherlands and the rest of Europe to meet internationally binding emissions reduction targets. It will also help Shell to meet its own target of becoming a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society’s progress towards achieving the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. Advanced production methods will be used to make the fuels. The facility is expected to use technology to capture carbon emissions from the manufacturing process and store them in an empty gas field beneath the North Sea through the Porthos project. A final investment decision for Porthos is expected next year.

The Rotterdam biofuels facility is expected to start production in 2024. It will produce low-carbon fuels such as renewable diesel from waste in the form of used cooking oil, waste animal fat and other industrial and agricultural residual products, using advanced technology developed by Shell. A range of certified sustainable vegetable oils, such as rapeseed, will supplement the waste feedstocks until even more sustainable advanced feedstocks are widely available. The facility will not use virgin palm oil as feedstock.

India: Gail Selects Grace’s Process Technology for India’s First PDH, PP Unit

The 500 KTA polypropylene plant, located in Usar, Maharastra, India, will be the first PDH and PP plant in India.
The 500 KTA polypropylene plant, located in Usar, Maharastra, India, will be the first PDH and PP plant in India.
(Source: ©Sergey Ryzhov - stock.adobe.com)

Sept 21 – W. R. Grace & Co. has licensed its Unipol PP process technology to Gail (India), India’s principal gas transmission and marketing company under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The 500 KTA polypropylene plant, located in Usar, Maharastra, India, will be the first PDH and PP plant in India. It is also the largest single-line Unipol PP process technology capacity that Grace has licensed in India.

This is Gail’s second Unipol PP process technology license, continuing to show the confidence in Grace to deliver value even through the Covid-19 pandemic. Grace's all gas-phase Unipol PP process technology delivers technology, innovation, and services for plant lifetime performance. The versatile process technology provides the broadest range of PP homopolymers, random copolymers, and impact copolymers in the industry.

The Unipol PP process technology is a state-of-the-art engineering technology that achieves mechanical and operational simplicity and delivers leading total installed cost and operating expense, accelerated project schedules, fast startups, grade transitions, and business results. The process technology, coupled with Grace’s proprietary catalyst and donor systems and the Unipol Unippac Process Control System, allows for maximum performance.

USA: Plug Power to Develop the Largest Green Hydrogen Facility on the US West Coast

Sept 21 – Plug Power is expanding its green hydrogen ecosystem to the west coast with the construction of a new state-of-the-art production facility in Fresno County, California, USA. As the largest green hydrogen production facility on the west coast, the plant will produce 30 metric tons of liquid green hydrogen daily, serving customers from San Diego to Vancouver. The facility will use a new 300 megawatt zero-carbon solar farm to power 120 megawatts of Plug Power’s state-of-the-art PEM electrolyzers, which split water into hydrogen and oxygen through an electro-chemical process.

The California plant joins the company’s growing national network of plants in New York, Tennessee, and Georgia that will supply 500 tons per day of liquid green hydrogen by 2025, replacing 4.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and 1,000 tons per day globally by 2028.

When fully built, the network of plants in the U.S. will offer transportation fuel to customers that is price-competitive with diesel. Plug Power’s investment in green hydrogen production will contribute to decarbonizing light-duty vehicles, freight-transportation, and logistics operations, and supports California’s leading role in developing hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel.

The project includes construction of a new tertiary wastewater treatment plant in the city of Mendota that will provide recycled water for the people of Mendota and supply the full needs of the plant. Pending environmental and construction permitting approvals, the plant will break ground in early 2023 and complete commissioning in early 2024.

Ireland: AstraZeneca to Build 360 Million Dollar API Manufacturing Unit

The 360 million dollar planned investment at the Alexion Campus in College Park, Dublin, is expected to create about 100 highly skilled direct jobs, including scientists and engineers, and further indirect jobs.
The 360 million dollar planned investment at the Alexion Campus in College Park, Dublin, is expected to create about 100 highly skilled direct jobs, including scientists and engineers, and further indirect jobs.
(Source: AstraZeneca)

Sept 24 – AstraZeneca is planning on establishing a next-generation active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing facility for small molecules near Dublin, Ireland to ensure the Company’s global supply network is fit for future growth.

The new plant will allow for late-stage development and early commercial supply, adopting state of the art process technology and digital innovation that is designed to meet the needs of the Company’s new medicines pipeline with speed and agility.

The 360 million dollar planned investment at the Alexion Campus in College Park, Dublin, is expected to create about 100 highly skilled direct jobs, including scientists and engineers, and further indirect jobs. The project, which will provide an important boost to the local economy and to the country’s life-sciences sector, was developed with the support and collaboration of Ireland’s investment agency, IDA Ireland.

The industry-leading, future proof design of the plant will permit the addition of capability to manufacture a wide range of medicines, including new modalities such as antibody drug conjugates and oligonucleotides.

The investment program is expected to significantly reduce commercialization lead times, costs and introduce more sustainable manufacturing processes, contributing to the Company’s Ambition Zero Carbon program. The industry-leading, future proof design of the plant will permit the addition of capability to manufacture a wide range of medicines, including new modalities such as antibody drug conjugates and oligonucleotides.

Spain: Repsol to Install First Electrolyzer at Petronor Refinery for Hydrogen Production

Repsol is transforming all its industrial complexes to decarbonize their processes.
Repsol is transforming all its industrial complexes to decarbonize their processes.
(Source: ©creativenature.nl–stock.adobe.com)

Sept 29 – Repsol will install the first electrolyzer in the Basque Country-region to produce renewable hydrogen at its Petronor refinery in Spain. The electrolyzer will involve an investment of 10.4 million dollars and will come into operation in the second half of 2022.

This project is part of the Basque Hydrogen Corridor, an initiative promoted by Petronor and Repsol that has already been joined by 80 entities and brings together a total investment of 1.67 billion dollars. It will have a capacity of 2.5 MW.

Repsol is transforming all its industrial complexes to decarbonize their processes. Renewable hydrogen is one of the strategic pillars of the company, enabling it to manufacture products with low, zero, or even a negative carbon footprint and become a net zero emissions company by 2050.

The multi-energy company is currently the leading producer and consumer of hydrogen in Spain. It has the ambition to lead the renewable hydrogen market, aiming to install a total capacity of 557 MW equivalent in 2025 and reaching 1.9 GW in 2030.

China: CRI Teams Up with Jiangsu Sailboat to Develop ‘CO2-to-Methanol’ Plant

The agreement was signed at parallel signing ceremonies held in Iceland and China and attended by both Chinese and Icelandic officials.
The agreement was signed at parallel signing ceremonies held in Iceland and China and attended by both Chinese and Icelandic officials.
(Source: CRI)

Sept 29 – Chinese petrochemicals corporation Jiangsu Sailboat Petrochemicals Co. has signed an agreement with Icelandic technology company Carbon Recycling International – CRI, to design a chemical plant based on CRI’s Emissions to Liquids (ETL) technology.

The plant will recycle approximately 150,000 metric tons of CO2 and 20,000 metric tons of H2 per year from other onsite processes to produce 100,000 tons of methanol annually. The Jiangsu Sailboat Green Methanol plant will be built in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province on the east coast of China, integrated into their 15 sq km Shenghong petrochemical industrial park.

The CRI ETL plant’s direct use of 150,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, will equal the effect of taking 53,000 fossil fueled cars off the roads. Indirect emission savings from avoiding the use of fossil raw materials is even larger, estimated to be as high as 550,000 tons per year. This is equivalent to 37,000 hectares of forest planting area, or 370 square kilometers of land.

Methanol is the main raw material used in Jiangsu Sailboat’s existing 2.4 million metric tons per year production of a wide product range of polymers and plastics. These include products used for making solar panels and plexiglass.

The plant will be owned and operated by Jiangsu Sailboat and is expected to begin its operation in 2023. The cost of the project is estimated around 35 million dollars. This project will be the second in China based on CRI’s ETL technology. The first CRI project, the Shunli plant in Anyang, Henan province, is currently in the final stages of construction and expected to be in operation early next year.

CRI, with its local JV partner MFE, will facilitate the project execution, providing design, engineering and technology license for the CO2-to-methanol process along with key proprietary equipment and related services.

USA: Maire Tecnimont Group, Greenfield Nitrogen to Develop USA’s First Green Ammonia Unit

Sept 29 – Milan/Italy – Maire Tecnimont announced that its subsidiaries NextChem, MET Development and Stamicarbon have reached an agreement with US-based Greenfield Nitrogen, to develop the first dedicated green ammonia plant in the US Midwest. As part of the agreement, NextChem will start a feasibility study for the 240 metric tons per day green ammonia project, utilizing renewable energy as feedstock via the intermediate production of green hydrogen.

MET Development will assist Greenfield Nitrogen in the development of the project. The plant will be designed utilizing the best available technologies for the green hydrogen production together with the ammonia technology that will be provided by Stamicarbon, which earlier this year launched its new Stami Green Ammonia technology.

The green ammonia plant will strengthen the development of the low carbon industry in the region and is expected to save over 166,000 tons of CO2 emissions per annum.

The project is the first of a series of green ammonia facilities that Greenfield Nitrogen is interested to strategically develop in the US Corn Belt. The plant and storage facility, which will be located near Garner, Iowa, will be powered by local renewable sources and will supply the ammonia to the local market, which traditionally is a large ammonia-consuming market.

The green ammonia plant will strengthen the development of the low carbon industry in the region and is expected to save over 166,000 tons of CO2 emissions per annum. The production of around 83,000 tons of ammonia per annum will reduce the region’s dependency on the ammonia currently imported from abroad.

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