The ORLEN Unipetrol Group continues to modernise and increase the efficiency of its production technologies. It thus fulfils its commitments related to sustainable production, implementation of innovations and technological development. It has recently modernised the ammonia production unit at its production plant in Litvínov and has commissioned a brand-new ammonia reactor. The modernisation of ammonia production will increase production efficiency and lower CO2 emissions compared to the original equipment. The investment totalled 16 milion Euro (CZK 370 million).

The process of modernising technologies for ammonia production began in 2018. The construction of the new reactor started in January 2021 and the reactor body itself was subsequently placed in position in November of the same year. After the reduction of the catalyst and the warranty test, which proved that all guaranteed parameters were met, the ammonia reactor was put into permanent operation during the spring of this year.

“We continue to develop our production capacities towards increased efficiency and lower energy and emission intensity. The new technology guarantees higher efficiency within existing operational parameters. Also, it enables us to achieve a higher recovery rate in ammonia production. The realisation of the production and installation of the new reactor required extensive investments. It is the next step on our way towards complete decarbonisation of our production technologies. We want to achieve full emission neutrality in 2050 at the latest,“ says Maciej Romanów, a member of the ORLEN Unipetrol’s board of directors.

The R-201 ammonia reactor weighs over 200 tonnes. It is made of forged, hot-rolled steel, its diameter is approximately two metres, and its height is almost 22 metres. The reactor’s casing is welded from forged rings with a wall thickness of over 120 millimetres. The reactor can sustain a maximum overpressure of almost 32 MPa, and its working temperature is between -10 °C and 220 °C.

The main advantage of the new reactor is an increased recovery rate while preserving the existing operational parameters. The reactor’s production capacity is up to 500 tonnes of ammonia per day on the primary circuit and between 380 and 410 tonnes of ammonia per day on the secondary circuit. The benefit of the new equipment compared to the original one is that the fittings on the new reactor are structurally adapted to increase the recovery rate while preserving the existing operational parameters.

Ammonia, manufactured by synthesising hydrogen and nitrogen, has a broad use in the chemical industry and as an intermediate product for producing various chemical substances. It is a colourless, corrosive liquid with an alkaline reaction and a pungent odour. The resulting product is sold in the form of liquefied gas.

The ORLEN Unipetrol Group is the largest refining and petrochemical company in the Czech Republic. It focuses on crude oil processing and the production, distribution and sale of vehicle fuels and petrochemical products – particularly plastics and fertilisers. It belongs among the key players on the Czech and Central European markets in all these areas. The ORLEN Unipetrol Group encompasses refineries and production plants in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou, Paramo in Pardubice, Spolana in Neratovice, REMAQ in Otrokovice, and two research centres in Litvínov and Brno. Unipetrol also includes the ORLEN Benzina filling station network in the Czech Republic and a network of ORLEN outlets in Slovakia and Hungary. In 2005, ORLEN Unipetrol became a member of the ORLEN Group, the largest multi-energy company in Central Europe. ORLEN Unipetrol employs almost 6,000 people and is active in corporate social responsibility. It seeks to promote initiatives that cultivate and support sustainable development, education, local communities, and the environment.