Plants: Lummus awarded PP contract from Lukoil Burgas; Elkem receives Norwegian government fund for battery materials plant

Lummus awarded PP contract from Lukoil Burgas

Technology licensor Lummus Technology says that its Novolen business has been awarded a contract by Lukoil Burgas for a petrochemical facility in Bulgaria. Lummus' scope includes the technology license for a 280 kilotonnes/year polypropylene (PP) unit as well as basic design engineering, training and services, and catalyst supply. It is said to the first PP plant in Southeast Europe and will be part of Lukoil Neftohim Burgas AD, the largest oil refining enterprise in the area.

The contract follows other recent awards from Lukoil, including most recent PP unit in Kstovo, Russia, says Lummus.

"It's an honour to have Lukoil as a repeat customer for our innovative technologies. This award is the second significant polypropylene contract we've signed with Lukoil recently," said Leon de Bruyn, Lummus Technology's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Major operators such as Lukoil understand the advantages of our Novolen technology, because it offers the industry's lowest overall capital and operational costs, while providing customers with the best range in products, process reliability and flexibility in responding to market needs."

The award increases the total amount of licensed volume for Novolen technology worldwide to more than 17.5 million tonnes/year.

Elkem receives Norwegian government fund for battery materials plant

Meanwhile in other news, Norwegian supplier of silicon-based advanced materials Elkem has received NOK10 million in financial support from Enova to fund the initial planning of the potential large-scale battery materials plant in Norway, named Northern Recharge. The project aims to supply the fast-growing battery industry through a competitive production process and make batteries greener with lower CO2 emissions. Enova is owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, and supports the development of energy and climate technology, among other responsibilities.

Elkem recently selected Herøya, one of the biggest industrial parks in Norway, as the project site. The company will now continue to progress the Northern Recharge project towards a final investment decision in 2021. The project will produce synthetic graphite and composites, which are the leading anode materials in lithium-ion battery cells. Graphite demand is expected to increase more than ten times from today’s level to 2030. In terms of weight, graphite as an anode material typically represents around 10% of the total battery weight. Today, most of both battery cell and graphite production takes place in Asia.

“A positive investment decision requires competitive public support mechanisms and supportive government policies. Elkem is also inviting industrial and financial partners to participate. Securing this initial support from Enova is an important step as we progress towards a final investment decision,” says Elkem’s CEO, Michael Koenig.

“Batteries will undoubtedly play an important role in a future low-emission society. The production of batteries, however, is energy-consuming, so we need to see production processes that are more energy-efficient in the future, such as the innovative synthetic graphite production technology Elkem has developed. We therefore appreciate the opportunity to support their upcoming initial study, in order to increase the probability that this energy-efficient technology can one day be adopted on a full scale," says Enova's Director of Markets, Øyvind Leistad.

“The market for better and greener batteries is growing fast. We believe Elkem and Norway are uniquely positioned to be among the leaders in this industry,” says vice president for Elkem Battery Materials, Stian Madshus.

Using Elkem's technology and renewable hydropower, the project can potentially reduce CO2 emissions by more than 90% compared to conventional production, while potentially reducing energy consumption by around 50 percent.

Elkem is currently constructing an industrial scale pilot plant for battery graphite in Kristiansand, Norway. Commissioning in early 2021, the pilot aims to conclude processing routes and enhance the product qualification process with customers. This project is supported by Innovation Norway.

Elkem says it also continues to carry out research on silicon-graphite composite materials for improved battery performance. This year, the company is joining the Hydra and 3beLiEVe research projects on next generation lithium-ion batteries, coordinated by SINTEF and the Austrian Institute of Technology, respectively. Both projects have received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.


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