Shell plans to boost bio-based alcohol and ethoxylates capacity at Norco – exec

Joseph Chang


JERSEY CITY (ICIS)–Shell plans to increase capacity for the use of bio-based feedstocks to produce alcohol and alcohol ethoxylates capacity at its Norco, Louisiana, site, an executive said on Tuesday.

The company produces some bio-based alcohol and alcohol ethoxylates today but aims to ramp this up to commercial scale in a project, and then further boost capacity in the next several years. This would be through adjusting existing assets rather than building new units, said Derek Ballek, global marketing manager – LAO, Detergents and EO at Shell.

Ballek spoke at the 12th ICIS World Surfactants Conference and to ICIS on the sidelines of the conference.

In a major shift to sustainability to meet the needs of downstream brand owners, Shell plans to use soybean oil and other bio-based feedstock at its Norco refinery and cracker to produce ethylene, ethylene oxide (EO) and alcohols and ethoxylates, said Helmut Brenner, sustainability manager, Americas at Shell.

Soybean oil would be processed at the Norco refinery to produce renewable diesel, which would then be fed into the cracker to produce ethylene, EO and then alcohols and ethoxylates.

Brand owners can use renewable alcohols and ethoxylates to produce renewable detergents for laundry, dish soap and hard surface cleaners.

While bio-based feedstock such as soybean oil will be more expensive, as more volumes are also being pulled into renewable diesel, aided by fuel credits in California, Oregon and Washington state, the end products should command a premium, with brand owners also able to expand margins, said Ballek.

Thumbnail shows detergent. Image  by Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP/Shutterstock


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