Plant Expansions: Klöckner Pentaplast’ US$25 mn investment in capacity in US; Borealis to build 750kt PDH plant in Belgium

Covestro to expand MDI capacity in Shanghai

Rigid/flexible packaging maker Klöckner Pentaplast’s Pharma & Medical Device Division (kp PMD) says that it will add to its global production capacity in North America. It is investing US$25 million over the next few years in technology and processes. This investment in North America complements earlier announcements by kp this year, highlighting its capacity expansions in Switzerland and Brazil. kp plans for the new capability in North America to be operational in 2020.

“Our significant expansion plans reflect our dedication to servicing customers’ needs now, and in the future,” says Tracey Peacock, President kp PMD. “The additional coating and laminating capability suitable for the production of Pentapharm and Pentamed packaging films will service the North American pharmaceutical and medical device industry. We are excited to support the growing high barrier product segments by investing in best in class coating and laminating capabilities, enabling new performance levels in barrier protection.”

Founded in 1965, Germany-headquartered Klöckner Pentaplast has operations in 18 countries and employs over 6,300 people worldwide from 61 locations, including 32 production sites.

Borealis to build 750kt PDH plant

In other news, polyolefins provider Borealis has taken the final investment decision for a new, world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant, after successfully concluding the FEED study in June 2018. The facility will be located at the existing Borealis production site in Kallo (Antwerp), Belgium. The plant is scheduled to start up in the first half of 2022.

The PDH plant will have a targeted production capacity of 750,000 tonnes/year, making it one of the largest facilities in the world. The Borealis Kallo location was selected due to its excellent logistical position, its experience in propylene production and handling and the synergies with the existing PDH unit.

Borealis will use Honeywell UOP’s Oleflex technology for the new plant, which is a widely used, reliable and sustainable choice for on-purpose propylene production. Propylene is one of the most important building blocks for the entire chemical industry, in which the plastic polypropylene has strong growth figures worldwide.

Oiltanking Antwerp Gas Terminal will be the long-term logistics partner for the handling of propylene and the raw material propane and will construct a new 135,000 cu m propane storage tank. The hydrogen that is a by-product of the dehydrogenation process will be sold to Air Liquide under a long-term agreement. The approved investment also provides for the possibility to include efficient cogeneration as part of the project. Such energy efficiency technology could contribute substantially to the Flemish climate and energy objectives, as well as to the energy efficiency plan of the Flemish Region. The support of the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) will also be decisive in the final technical concept.

“The continuing close cooperation during last years with our customers, suppliers, business partners and the various Flemish and Belgian authorities, including the Port of Antwerp, has been a crucial contributor to our positive investment decision,” says Thomas Van De Velde, Borealis Vice President of Hydrocarbons & Energy business.

“This important investment in our European assets fully supports our strategy to be a leading supplier of innovative polypropylene solutions and propylene to our customers in Europe. We are showing our commitment to support the growth of our customers in Europe and strengthen our position as the leading supplier whilst increasing our integration economics and supply reliability. In addition, we are currently studying the feasibility of various capacity increases for polypropylene based on this additional propylene capability,” says Alfred Stern, Borealis Chief Executive.


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