ORLEN Południe finalises the construction of Poland’s first and Europe’s largest facility for the production of eco-friendly propylene glycol. The investment in the Trzebinia refinery is already 90% complete. Its production capacity will amount to 30 thousand tonnes per year, which means that the company will meet as much as 75% of the domestic demand for this product. One integral part of the complex will be a hydrogen plant. Investments in the south of Poland contribute to the achievement of the group’s strategic objectives in the area of low- and zero-emission energy.
Propylene glycol is a bioproduct which is clean and eco-friendly. It is used, among others, in medicine, cosmetics, as well as the food and pharmaceutical industries. By the end of 2021, ORLEN Południe will produce 30 thousand tonnes of eco-friendly glycol per year. This is 10 thousand more than Europe’s only other facility of this type, which is located in Belgium.
“We have consistently strengthened companies from the ORLEN Group. We focus on eco-friendly and high-margin products. By implementing projects of key importance for ORLEN Południe, we increase our production capacity in the scope of biofuels and biomaterials. One example is the investment in eco-friendly glycol, which is being implemented in Trzebinia. The investment means the development of the production plant and creation of new jobs. It is also an important stage in the transformation of the company, which we are gradually transforming into a modern biorefinery. The hydrogen plant created as part of this investment will enable us to build a strong position on the alternative fuels market,” says Daniel Obajtek, Chair of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN.
The construction of the facility for its production in Trzebinia began in autumn 2019 and is going in accordance with the schedule despite the pandemic. Construction work, deliveries and installation of major equipment have already been completed. The installation of piping, cable routes and power routes is currently under way.
“The investment will benefit the company and the entire ORLEN Group. We are adding a new, eco-friendly product with a wide range of applications to our extensive portfolio and immediately positioning ourselves as a European leader. Local companies will also benefit from the investment. The contractors for the project are two Polish companies. After its implementation, domestic biodiesel producers supplying glycerine and customers purchasing eco-friendly glycol will start cooperation with the company,” says Marcin Rej, Chair of the Management Board of ORLEN Południe.
The new investment will consolidate the position of ORLEN Południe as an important enterprise and employer. The company already employs over 650 people, of which more than a half are employed at the refinery in Trzebinia. Owing to this investment, several dozen new jobs have been created. The company was looking for engineers, specialists and operators to work at the facility. All stages of recruitment were completed in April this year. At present, workers at the new facility are undergoing theoretical and practical training in accordance with the approved schedule.
Completion of the investment is planned for the last quarter of 2021. Before that, pre-commissioning and preparations for the actual commissioning will take place in the second and third quarters.
By the end of this year, a hydrogen plant will also be constructed in Trzebinia, forming an integral part of the green glycol complex. ORLEN Południe will implement hydrogen fuel as the first company in Poland. The annual hydrogen production will be 16 million normal cubic metres. 75% of this amount will be used to produce glycol. The remaining 25% (4 million normal cubic metres) will immediately find use as transport fuel. ORLEN Południe will produce approx. 45 kg/h of fuel-grade hydrogen.
To date, site preparation works and the foundations for key apparatus have been completed at the construction site for the fuel quality refining station. In the months to come, tanks will be delivered together with the loading system for the battery trucks.
Fuel-grade hydrogen will be used primarily as a fuel in urban transport. PKN ORLEN has signed letters of intent for the development of zero-emission transport in the southern part of Poland with Metropolis GZM, Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne w Krakowie, Krakowski Holding Komunalny and Miejski Zakład Komunikacyjny w Bielsku-Białej.