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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.

Consumers’ energy needs are constantly changing. To ensure we continue to meet these needs, we have rolled out an ambitious modernization plan at Antwerp, our largest refining and petrochemicals platform in Europe. Our goal is to make the site more competitive and efficient, while reducing its environmental impact.
The European market is changing rapidly. Demand for heavy oil is declining, the popularity of  diesel as a choice of fuel is rising, and regulations are imposing increasingly lower sulfur levels. In this new environment, adapting our industrial facilities is a necessity. Starting in 2016, the Antwerp refining and petrochemicals platform will be equipped with new units to meet these evolving needs.

We also plan to improve our industrial and environmental performance by making it easier for the platform’s three sites to share resources. Our aim is to reduce the environmental impact of the Antwerp platform while at the same time making it one of our most competitive facilities.

Energy efficiency a top priority
Off-gas produced from oil refining is currently used as fuel in refinery furnaces, but it will soon be recovered and used as feedstock in petrochemicals units. These gases will partially replace naphtha, an increasingly expensive petroleum-based product.