Consortium cancels joint CO2-to-polyolefins plant in Austria; to do solo plants

Consortium cancels joint CO2-to-polyolefins plant in Austria; to do solo plants

Austrian companies Holcim, Verbund, OMV, and Borealis have wrapped up the C2PAT demonstration plant project, aiming to produce carbon-based products from unavoidable CO2 emissions. Instead of a joint pilot plant, each company plans to develop industrially upscaled plants to meet the growing demand for renewable-based plastic products.

These plants, slated for completion in the coming years, will capture CO2 emissions and utilize green hydrogen to produce high-quality polyolefins. Holcim, for instance, intends to build a CO2 capture plant at its Mannersdorf cement plant by 2030, which will capture 750,000 tonnes/year of CO2 emissions from the plant, while Verbund focuses on green hydrogen projects and OMV ventures into producing synthetic aviation fuels and chemicals using renewable hydrogen and biogenic CO2.

Austrian chemical company active in the fields of polyolefins and the European front-runner in polyolefins recycling Borealis, on the other hand, collaborates on various carbon capture initiatives, emphasising the industry’s shift towards a circular economy and climate neutrality. These endeavours underscore the need for supportive legal frameworks, financing, and infrastructure for carbon management and renewable energy.

The completion of the C2PAT – Carbon to Product Austria demonstration plant project by the end of 2023 marked a significant milestone. During the planning of the C2PAT demonstration plant, the partner companies were able to gain significant insights into carbon management and identify paths for the circular carbon economy. Instead of the demonstration plant, each company is therefore now planning large-scale industrial plants in its own area, which can be implemented in the long term as part of a cross-sector collaboration with existing and additional partners.

The aim of producing high-quality polyolefins from captured CO2 emissions and green hydrogen and thus closing the carbon cycle remains unchanged. The close proximity of the original project partners continues to provide the ideal conditions for a holistic value chain.

Innovative solutions such as the C2PAT approach are seen as the key to climate neutrality – especially for industries with CO2 emissions that are difficult to avoid. However, they require an appropriate legal framework for CO2 management, as well as the necessary financing and a corresponding infrastructure of green hydrogen and green energy.

With the C2PATplus project, Holcim Austria is planning to build a CO2 capture plant at the Mannersdorf cement plant by 2030 as the cornerstone for a cross-sector, carbon-based value chain.. Holcim will take over C2PAT GmbH for this purpose and continue to operate it. In the Holcim Group, six carbon capture projects co-financed by the EU Innovation Fund are currently in preparation in Europe, and 50 projects are being planned worldwide. Holcim is investing two billion Swiss francs in the creation of corresponding decarbonisation technologies by 2030.

Meanwhile, green hydrogen is one of the three cornerstones of Verbund’s strategy. In the short and medium term, the demand for green hydrogen in the target markets is to be covered by various local projects to supply industrial partners in the core markets. For example, Green Ammonia Linz produces green hydrogen from green electricity and deionised water in an industrial electrolysis plant (60 MW). This is used at LAT Nitrogen in Linz to sustainably produce fertilizers, melamine and technical nitrogen. The oxygen produced during electrolysis is also used in production.

Also, Verbund is working on the long-term development of an extensive value chain in order to import large quantities of green hydrogen from neighbouring regions. Initial agreements have already been concluded with international partners.

On the other hand, driven by high customer demand, OMV launched the C4CHEM program in 2022, which aims to develop and build an industrial-scale CCU plant at the Schwechat refinery. The C4CHEM plant will produce synthetic aviation fuels (e-SAF) and synthetic chemicals (e-Olefins) using renewable hydrogen and biogenic CO2 as feedstock. The final investment decision will be made by 2026.

Polyolefins maker Borealis is driving the transformation of the plastics industry from a linear to a circular economy with the help of CCS/CCU with several projects: It has done pioneering work in the field of carbon capture and uses (CCU) together with ON, Lanzatech and Technip. As part of this collaboration, the Swiss sports brand On developed Cloudprime, the first shoe whose midsole was made from CleanCloud EVA foam from carbon emissions as a raw material.

Since 2021, Borealis has been a member of Antwerp@C, an initiative of Air Liquide, BASF, Borealis, ExxonMobil, INEOS7, TotalEnergies, Fluxys and the Port of Antwerp. The aim of this collaboration is to support the industry’s efforts to achieve a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions in the port of Antwerp, Belgium, by 2030 through the construction of a joint CO2 infrastructure.

Furthermore, Borealis is currently working with the University of Helsinki, Finland, and several other academic and industrial partners on a joint research project entitled Direct and reversible CO2 capture from air using superbases. The two-year project deals with the direct capture of carbon dioxide from the air and is at the interface between societal and scientific interests.