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ORLEN Unipetrol modernises technology for ammonia production 

The ORLEN Unipetrol Group, the largest refining and petrochemical company in the Czech Republic, is continuing to modernise and increase the efficiency of its production technologies. It has recently modernised the ammonia production unit at its production plant in Litvínov and has commissioned a brand-new ammonia reactor. The modernisation of ammonia production will increase production efficiency and lower CO2 emissions compared to the original equipment. The investment totalled 370 million koruna (15.4 million euros).

The process of modernising technologies for ammonia production began in 2018. The construction of the new reactor started in January 2021 and the reactor body itself was subsequently placed in position in November of the same year. After the reduction of the catalyst and the warranty test, which proved that all guaranteed parameters were met, the ammonia reactor was put into permanent operation during the spring of this year.

“We continue to develop our production capacities towards increased efficiency and lower energy and emission intensity,” said Maciej Romanów, a member of the ORLEN Unipetrol’s board of directors. “The new technology guarantees higher efficiency within existing operational parameters. Also, it enables us to achieve a higher recovery rate in ammonia production. The realisation of the production and installation of the new reactor required extensive investments. It is the next step on our way towards complete decarbonisation of our production technologies. We want to achieve full emission neutrality in 2050 at the latest.”

The main advantage of the new reactor is an increased recovery rate while preserving the existing operational parameters. The reactor’s production capacity is up to 500 tonnes of ammonia per day on the primary circuit and between 380 and 410 tonnes of ammonia per day on the secondary circuit. The benefit of the new equipment compared to the original one is that the fittings on the new reactor are structurally adapted to increase the recovery rate while preserving the existing operational parameters.

Ammonia, manufactured by synthesising hydrogen and nitrogen, has a broad use in the chemical industry and as an intermediate product for producing various chemical substances. It is a colourless, corrosive liquid with an alkaline reaction and a pungent odour. The resulting product is sold in the form of liquefied gas.

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