Polish biodiesel producer completes 1st year of manufacturing propylene glycol from glycerin
Orlen Południe, a leading player in biofuels in Poland, has recently concluded the first year of operation at its biobased propylene glycol plant in Trzebinia, Poland, converting glycerol, a byproduct of biodiesel production, into renewable propylene glycol (BioPG).
The company initiated start-up of the BioPG plant in late 2021.
BioPG obtained from glycerin is biobased and a highly demanded product used to produce polyester resins, polyurethanes, paints and deicing solutions, solvents for the food industry, and is used as an ingredient in deodorant sticks and toothpaste.
Compared to fossil-based propylene glycol, BioPG reduces the CO2 footprint by at least 60 percent while offering the same product quality.
Air Liquide Engineering & Construction provided the license, basic engineering and proprietary equipment for the new plant, combining its expertise with commercially proven BASF technology.
BASF’s BioPG technology has been operating at full scale for more than a decade, showing very high selectivity and glycerol conversion using BASF’s H9-66 catalyst.
The outstanding catalyst performance enables the hydrogenation in liquid phase without any need for separation of intermediates or solvents, leading to lower energy consumption compared to other processes.
The BioPG plant supports Orlen Group’s objective of achieving CO2 neutrality by 2050.
With an annual capacity of 30,000 metric tons, Orlen Południe is the first Polish producer of propylene glycol aiming to meet 75 percent of the country’s propylene-glycol needs.
“We are proud that after a smooth start-up the new plant is operating as planned, for more than one year,” said Grzegorz Semerjak, technology director at Orlen Południe. “The cooperation between Orlen Południe, BASF and Air Liquide Engineering & Construction significantly promotes our business philosophy with the BioPG technology and improves our value chain. The technical support by BASF and Air Liquide Engineering & Construction was outstanding. This really is a joint success.”
Dominique Rouge, vice president of sales and technology at Air Liquide Engineering & Construction, added, “We are pleased to offer to our customers an innovative biobased renewable solution that provides many environmental benefits and helps our customers move towards a low-carbon society. We were delighted to work with Orlen Poludnie on their project, to provide our expertise and a one-stop shop BioPG solution.”
Detlef Ruff, BASF’s senior vice president of process catalysts, said, “Our propylene-glycol catalyst has been operating successfully at customers for over 10 years, and we are excited about a successful startup and operation of another commercial plant with Orlen Południe. Thanks to the G2PG process, Orlen Południe has opened a completely new business area of bioproducts and further increased the value creation at its biodiesel plant. As BASF, we are proud to support this development with our innovative technology and catalyst, and to enable a more sustainable BioPG production.”