Orlen Południe, an Orlen Group company, has brought on stream Poland’s first and Europe’s largest green propylene glycol production unit at its biorefinery in Trzebinia. The unit has a capacity of 30,000 tonnes/year, enough to cover as much as 75% of the domestic demand for the product. This PLN400 million capital project will add over PLN50 million to the Group’s annual EBITDA. An integral part of the complex is Poland’s first hydrogen hub. The projects implemented in southern Poland are another step towards achieving the Group’s strategic goals for low- and zero-carbon energy.
Green glycol is a high-margin bio-based product that is clean and environmentally safe. It is used for a wide range of applications, including in medicine, cosmetics, and the food industry. It can also be used in aviation as an anti-icing and de-icing agent for aircraft. Orlen will produce 30,000 tonnes/year of green glycol, an impressive 10,000 tonnes more than Europe’s only unit of this type located in Belgium.
Glycerine obtained at the Trzebinia plant as a by-product of biodiesel production will be used to make the eco-friendly glycol, which will be sold to customers in Poland and abroad. The project will also benefit other Polish biodiesel producers, from whom the company will source glycerine.
The new project will strengthen Orlen Południe’s position both as a player on the Polish biocomponents market and an employer in the region. The glycol unit has created several dozen jobs. Today the company has a workforce of over 670, with more than half of them employed at the Trzebinia refinery.
Construction on the green glycol project was launched in the autumn of 2019 and it was completed on schedule by a consortium formed by two Polish companies: Technik Polska and Biproraf.
An integral part of the glycol complex is Poland’s first hydrogen hub with an annual output of 16 Nm3, of which 75% will be used for glycol production and the remaining 25% will be further purified into hydrogen fuel. The hub will have an annual production capacity of 350 tonnes of pure automotive-grade hydrogen.
The fuel made in Trzebinia is to ultimately power public transport vehicles in Kraków and the Upper Silesian agglomeration. To that end, the Group has signed letters of intent with Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne of Kraków, Krakowski Holding Komunalny, and the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia and Dąbrowa Basin. In the future, Orlen Południe will also operate a mobile hydrogen refuelling station.
The strategic capital projects implemented in Trzebinia are underpinned by Orlen Południe’s firm and stable financial footing. In the first nine months of 2021 alone, the company posted revenue of ca. PLN 2.4 billion, almost PLN 200 million more than in the entire 2019 and over PLN 500 million more than in the pandemic year of 2020. Orlen Południe has also delivered record net profit for the first three quarters of the year, of PLN 108 million.