Elevance and Wilmar begin commercial shipments of biobased chemicals from newly commissioned refinery
Coming out of the dark: a project in Gresik, Indonesia; the company you know as Elevance Renewable Sciences; and a technology called olefin metathesis that’s highly worth knowing.
In Singapore, Wilmar International and Elevance Renewable Sciences have just announced that they have begun shipping commercial products, including novel specialty chemicals, to customers from their first world-scale joint venture biorefinery, located in Gresik, Indonesia. The biorefinery is the first based on Elevance’s proprietary metathesis technology.
The commercial-scale manufacturing facility produces novel specialty chemicals, including multifunctional esters such as 9-decenoic methyl ester, a unique distribution of bio-based alpha and internal olefins including decene and a premium mixture of oleochemicals. It has a capacity of 180kMT (approximately 400 million pounds) with the ability to expand up to 360kMT (approximately 800 million pounds) of products. (For those of you who think in terms of gallons, 180kMT is around 57 million gallons per year – the size of a major biodiesel facility).
Now the project cost might be a shocker. $40 million at Gresik for the whole shebang. Some of that stems from the site integration advantage of Wilmar’s big refining complex at Gresik – the opportunities to share utilities and other infrastructure.
But, overall, there’s a lot more driving down the cost. Essentially Elevance is using a very sophisticated catalyst, but is able focus design on achieving simplicity.
Why? “The catalyst provides very benign operating conditions,” notes Elevance CEO K’Lynne Johnson. “It’s a reaction that occurs at 60-70 C and slightly above atmospheric pressure, so we are able to reduce the design parameters compared to other technologies, and reduce process steps. The elegance is in driving simplicity. Plus, we don’t have large waste streams, and we don’t have toxic co-products — that helps drive low capex.”
In today’s Digest, we look at olefin metathesis and why the unraveling of its catalysts landed a Nobel Prize, where Elevance is headed in offtake, capacity building and customer applications; the reaction from partner Wilmar; something about LEGO, and the Digest’s Take (and a little about salsa music) – all via the page links below.
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