The propylene oxide production chain and possibilities for energy saving

The Dutch government has drawn up long-term agreements on energy efficiency (LEE) with companies falling under the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), one of which is LyondellBasell. Lyondell Chemie Nederland B.V., part of LyondellBasell, produces Propylene Oxide (PO) at two different production sites in the Rotterdam area using two different processes. At the Maasvlakte site PO is produced via the POSM process with styrene as a co-product and at the Botlek site via the PO/TBA process with tert-butyl alcohol (TBA) as a co-product.

Opportunities for improving energy efficiency can be found at the production sites as well as both upstream and downstream in the PO, TBA and styrene production chains, and the LEE agreement encourages companies to assess the potential for all of these.

CE Delft has determined the carbon footprint and cumulative energy demand of both LyondellBasell’s Dutch PO production sites.

The aim of the project was to identify the energy-saving potential in the PO, styrene and TBA production chains. The study also focuses on options requiring cooperation with other companies or yielding savings for more than one company in the supply chain. The project was carried out in close cooperation with LyondellBasell.

Using information from open-source literature and data provided by LyondellBasell, each process step was elaborated in detail, yielding a map of the main mass and energy flows involved. These flows are presented as energy charts, giving an indication of the level of detail permitted by this approach.

In brainstorm sessions the scope for energy savings in the production chain was assessed. After the brainstorms, a list of potential measures was drawn up based on the suggestions made, indicating both the energy-saving potential and the technical and economic feasibility of the measure concerned. The measures were then reported to LyondellBasell.