SKC starts up world’s first HPPO based PO unit

24 July 2008 10:18  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--South Korea based SKC has commissioned the world’s first hydrogen peroxide and propylene (HPPO) based propylene oxide (PO) plant at Ulsan, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The new 100,000 tonne/year plant, which boosted SKC’s total PO capacity to 275,000 tonne/year, uses new technology developed by Germany-based Evonik and Uhde.

“The new technology produces only PO with no by-products in any appreciable quantity, except water, making it a more cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly technology of choice,” the company said in the statement

Many global major chemical players had also been trying to commercialise the technology, it added.

“As the supply shortage in the Asian PO market is apparent for the longer term, the world’s first commercialisation of HPPO-based PO production at the new plant poses a great opportunity for SKC in the further dominance of domestic markets as well as expansion into the rest of Asia,” said SKC CEO Jang Suk Park.

SKC would continue to work towards its goal of establishing leadership in the Asian polyurethane market. PO is used mainly in the production of polyurethane precursors.

Evonik was also expected to profit from the project as it was a major step towards the development of the hydrogen peroxide market.

“By targeted development of new technologies in collaboration with proven and expert partners, we’re opening up an attractive new market for hydrogen peroxide,” Klaus Engel, member of the executive board of Evonik said,

With the start-up of SKC’s HPPO based PO plant, the company was expecting the hydrogen peroxide market to grow 200,000 tonnes/year over the next 10 years, he added.

As a short-term plan, SKC was aiming to improve productivity of the new plant by 20% by the end of 2008 and 30% by the first quarter of 2009, simply by improving process efficiency.

The company was also considering the establishment of an additional 400,000 tonne/year PO plant in China or other Asian countries, where a continued shortage in PO supply is forecast.

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By: Brian Myung
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