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News

First polypropylene product made from natural gas

Borealis A/S : 17 September, 2003  (New Product)
As a result of co-operation between Lurgi, Statoil and Borealis, the world
Up to now propylene has mainly been produced as a co-product with ethylene from steam crackers using various petroleum feedstock. In search of additional feedstock sources to satisfy the growing demand for propylene and polypropylene, research is now concentrating on new processes involving alternative raw materials. One of these is the MTP (Methanol-to-Propylene) process developed by Lurgi, which uses methanol as a feedstock obtained from natural gas. The raw propylene can easily be converted to a high-purity polypropylene.

Lurgi proved the viability of the process at an MTP demonstration unit, operated jointly by Statoil and Lurgi, at Statoil’s methanol plant in Norway. To confirm the quality of the propylene obtained in the demonstration unit, samples were sent to Borealis’ Innovation Centre in Rønningen, Norway. Here, it was successfully polymerised with Borealis’ proprietary Borstar process to polypropylene that met all specifications, and converted into thermoformed cups. After having demonstrated the high quality of the propylene, Lurgi is now in a position to offer the MTP process on a commercial scale.

“This is truly an innovation. We are pleased that the MTP process now offers an alternative feedstock to petroleum based propylene, in case this becomes relevant for us,” says Staffan Lennström, Executive Vice President Hydrocarbons Business Group. “In this case Borealis offered our polymerisation facilities and know-how to evaluate the MTP produced propylene. Participation in research and evaluating alternative routes to cost-efficient feedstock is a must in our strategy of being a leading, integrated, profitable polyolefins supplier. “
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