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6 February 2019

Braskem and Haldor Topsoe start up demo unit for developing renewable MEG

The mechanical completion of the innovative first process step of the demonstration plant is the first milestone to be achieved by Braskem and Haldor Topsoe’s partnership to validate the MOSAIK™ sugar-to-biochemicals solution for production of cost-competitive bio-based MEG (monoethylene glycol). Currently, MEG is made from fossil-based feedstocks, such as naphtha, gas or coal. The demonstration plant is expected to produce more than 100 tons per year of glycolaldehyde, the precursor for MEG, when it begins operation on March 1, 2019. MEG is a key component of PET plastic used for food packaging, especially bottles, and polyester fabrics. The global MEG market represents a value of 25 billion dollars.

As part of OMV’s Refining and Marketing strategy, the extended butadiene plant at the refinery in Schwechat started operating on May 2, 2014. OMV is therefore driving forward with its strategic approach of focusing increasingly on petrochemical production at its refinery sites. Parallel to the extension of the butadiene plant in Schwechat, a new butadiene facility is being constructed at the OMV refinery in Burghausen (Germany), which is expected to go into operation in the second quarter of 2015. Butadiene is a key material in the chemical industry and is mainly used in the automotive sector and for producing tires.

Manfred Leitner, OMV Executive Board member responsible for Refining and Marketing, emphasizes the strategic importance of the decision: "With the extended plant we are building on the synergies of the Schwechat refinery with regards to petrochemicals. We are creating additional earnings potential and further improving our competitive position."

Global change in the refinery sector means that petrochemical derivatives play an increasingly important role internationally, alongside traditional oil products such as diesel, heating oil and fuels. "This is why OMV continues to focus on petrochemicals in its refinery activities, and invests in producing materials for strategic growth markets", adds Manfred Leitner.

The upgrade of the plant in Schwechat using state-of-the-art technologies began in September 2013 and was completed on April 26, 2014. Regular operations began on May 2. This means the refinery has increased its butadiene capacity by 30%, and can now produce 60,000 tons of butadiene per year.

The extended plant can still be run by the same number of employees. Up to 90 people were employed in the run-up to the six-week standstill of the plant, while as many as 300 people worked there each day during the upgrade.