Expansions: JGC to expand catalysts/fine chemicals biz in Japan; Syclus opts for Axens tech for EUR130 mn renewable ethanol-to-ethylene plant in Netherlands

JGC to expand catalysts/fine chemicals biz in Japan

Japan’s JGC Catalysts and Chemicals (JGC C&C), a JGC Group company involved in functional materials manufacturing, has concluded two purchasing agreements to expand Niigata and Kitakyushu operations. The former was concluded in June for a site at the Eastern Industrial Park in Agano, Niigata, and the latter in July for a site in Wakamatsu in the city of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka. In Agano, JGC will manufacture catalysts for carbon-neutral fuels (synthetic fuels) and catalysts/adsorbents for chemical recycling.

JGC C&C has planned a total of about 20 billion yen in facility investment between 2025 and 2030, which includes the current purchase of land for business operations. The sites will support JGC C&C in meeting client carbon-neutrality initiatives and growing needs for new products spurred by accelerating digital transformation. This is part of investment in anticipation of greater demand for new fine chemical products such as catalysts for carbon-neutral fuels (synthetic fuels), chemical recycling catalysts and adsorbents, high-speed communications materials, and polishing particles for semiconductor applications.

Phase 1 will commence in 2026.

Syclus opts for Axens tech for EUR130 mn renewable ethanol-to-ethylene plant in Netherlands

In other news, Dutch chemical firm Syclus intends to build and operate a plant for the production of renewable ethylene from sustainable ethanol in Chemelot Industrial Park, Geleen, the Netherlands. With a production capacity in the range of 100,000 tonnes/year, this renewable ethanol-to-ethylene production plant would be a first in Europe. Ethanol will be regionally produced by CropEnergies, who operates a plant for the production of renewable ethanol nearby and that acquired a major share in Syclus in 2022. The investment required is estimated to be more than EUR130 million.

The facility will rely on Atol technology from French company Axens. Among many other benefits, Atol is said to feature a cost-effective, ethylene yields thanks to a best-in-class catalyst, and allows for an optimised use of process energy, which minimises emissions. The technology can produce ethylene widely regarded as having the highest quality on the market, fulfilling the specifications required by Chemelot and also by the ARG, the extensive ethylene pipeline network in Northwest Europe.

Basic engineering is scheduled to start in late 2023, and production in 2026.

Igor Hensing, General Director of Syclus B.V.:”Syclus has selected Axens as licensor for the ethanol to ethylene project. Axens’ Atol® technology provides a high efficiency combined with a low energy consumption process next to high product quality and safety performance. This supports Syclus’ ambition to set a new benchmark in renewable ethylene. Based on our cooperation Axens has shown to share Syclus’ ambition and we are convinced to have selected the right partner to make the design, construction and operation of our plant a success.”

Stephan Meeder, CEO/CFO of CropEnergies AG, said: “Having a 50% stake in Syclus, we are very happy that they have taken the next step for the realisation of the ethanol to ethylene project with the selection of Axens as a partner. Renewable ethylene is an important step in defossilising the production of plastics, making it more sustainable. Depending on the results of the feasibility study which is currently being carried out, CropEnergies expects to make a decision for the next phase, which will be the basic engineering, by the end of this year.“


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