Today marks an important milestone in the construction of Borealis’ world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant in Kallo, Belgium: the propylene splitter, one of the largest appliances ever delivered to the port of Antwerp in one piece by ship, was successfully transported from the quay to the Borealis site in Kallo.

The propylene splitter is a distillation column, needed to split propane from propylene, as produced by the new PDH plant. With a length of 105 metres, a width of 10 metres and a weight of 1,600 tonnes, the splitter is one of the largest equipment ever delivered in one piece to the Port of Antwerp. It is an important element of Borealis’ new PDH plant and will eventually define the location’s skyline (see photos in the download section).

Borealis’ new PDH plant represents Borealis’ most significant investment in Europe. The plant will have a targeted annual production capacity of 750 kilotons p.a., making it one of the largest and most efficient facilities in the world. Production is expected to start by the end of 2022.

Flexible, integrated steam crackers as well as the PDH plant and their associated production units, form the backbone of the Borealis olefins and polyolefins portfolio in Europe. Borealis sources basic feedstock such as propane, naphtha, butane and ethane from the oil and gas industry and converts these into ethylene, propylene and other high value hydrocarbons. Recently Borealis has also started sourcing renewable propane as feedstock to develop and produce renewable propylene and polypropylene.

Ethylene and propylene are the most important building blocks in the petrochemical industry, serving as raw materials for a wide variety of products. Propylene is used for the production of the plastics raw material polypropylene, as well as for the production of important chemicals such as propylene oxide, acrylonitrile, cumene and acrylic acid.