Borealis has held a ground-breaking ceremony for its world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant in Kallo, Belgium, which has a targeted production capacity of 750,000 tonnes per year of propylene. The €1 billion ($1.1bn) investment is the largest ever made by Borealis in Europe.
PDH is a vital process step in the production of propylene from propane. European demand for propylene is growing, yet presently, supply is decreasing due to a confluence of global market developments. The start-up of the Kallo plant, scheduled for the middle of 2022, means that European customers will soon be able to rely on the secure supply of competitively priced propylene and its derivatives.
Several factors influenced Borealis’ decision to invest in the Kallo location. First, the economies of scale offered by the Port of Antwerp in Flanders are significant due to its well-established transportation and logistics infrastructure. Thanks to the adjacency to an existing Borealis production unit on site, Borealis will be able to exploit additional synergistic effects. Crucially, the new PDH plant will employ Honeywell UOP’s Oleflex technology for on-purpose propylene production.
Above and beyond the increase in production capacity, the new plant is helping make Borealis operations more efficient and sustainable. Using the Oleflex technology makes it possible to consume less energy in production yet produce higher volumes of the same quality. Less propane will be required, but more own hydrogen will be produced, enabling Borealis to supply not only its own internal needs, but those of third parties as well.
Finally, the embedded, multi-fuel cogeneration unit in the new PDH plant will generate a significant part of the steam and electricity required for operations.
“The Borealis investment in the new Kallo plant is not only the largest investment we have ever made in Europe – it is also the most significant investment in Europe by a petrochemicals industry player in the last 20 years,” said Borealis’ chief executive Alfred Stern. “Investing in our European assets is a clear signal of our commitment to enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of our operations, but also to bolstering the region as an essential industrial hub.”