Green news: Trillium/Ineos Nitriles to build demo plant for biobased acrylonitrile in US; Borealis to install demo rPO compounding line in Belgium

Trillium/Ineos Nitriles to build demo plant for biobased acrylonitrile in US

Trillium Renewable Chemicals has announced the selection of Ineos Nitriles’ Green Lake facility in Port Lavaca, Texas, to establish what it says is the world’s first demonstration plant for converting plant-based glycerol into acrylonitrile. The demonstration plant, named Project Falcon, is set to commence operations in early 2025 and will run through early 2026.

Trillium Renewable Chemicals has developed a technology for producing sustainable acrylonitrile, a key raw material in numerous industries, including toys, auto parts, aerospace components, medical supplies, and apparel. Ineos adds it brings its technology experience as the developers of the AN process employed by over 75% of the world’s operating acrylonitrile capacity.

Following a US$10.6M Series A financing round in December 2022 and US$2.5 million award from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office in June 2022, Trillium constructed a pilot plant that successfully produced acrylonitrile from glycerol. Trillium’s sustainable acrylonitrile offers a lower carbon footprint than standard acrylonitrile based on the Sohio propylene process, it adds.

Trillium continues to operate a pilot plant and has successfully provided samples to customers. Pilot operations also have contributed valuable insights for the design of the Falcon plant, which will be operated at the Ineos Nitriles Green Lake site.

Hans Casier, CEO of Ineos Nitriles, highlighted the significance of Trillium’s decision, stating, “Our support of this project, which is part of our wider sustainability strategy, emphasises our commitment as the world’s largest producer of acrylonitrile, to reducing the carbon footprint of the industry. We look forward to working closely with Trillium to help achieve this objective.”

The operation of Project Falcon will help to validate commercial-scale economics and product carbon footprint at scale. Emphasis will be placed on achieving process performance criteria such as plant uptime, demonstrating key equipment in its final form, and securing qualification as a supplier of biobased acrylonitrile.

Borealis to install demo rPO compounding line in Belgium

Meanwhile in other news, polyolefins producer Borealis has announced the installation of a semi-commercial demonstration recyclate-based polyolefins (rPO) compounding line in Beringen, Belgium. Set for construction during 2024, it is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2025.

The line will use Borealis' proprietary Borcycle M technology to transform mechanically recycled post-consumer waste into high-quality rigid polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) materials. Capable of processing a broad range of recyclate flakes from both PP and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) waste sources, the new line will offer exceptional versatility and flexibility.

As a semi-commercial demonstration line, it will showcase the power of Borcycle M technology to produce mechanically recycled solutions that meet the rigorous and varied demands of high-performance applications in industries including mobility, consumer products, appliances, and energy, it adds.

The investment will expand Borealis’ overall recyclate processing and compounding capacity. It will also provide valuable operational experience and technological insight into recyclate processing – knowledge that will be vital in supporting Borealis to scale up this transformative technology, says Borealis.

This move complements Borealis' recent acquisitions of recyclate-based compounding business Rialti and advanced mechanical recycler Integra.

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