ORLEN Unipetrol, the largest Czech petrochemical company, has commissioned a new production unit for the liquid hydrocarbon, dicyclopentadiene, which expands the company’s product portfolio. Dicyclopentadiene, abbreviated as DCPD, has a broad range of applications in the automotive industry, construction, electrical engineering, medicine and pharmaceutical sectors.
The company will produce up to 26,000 tonnes of DCPD per year – making it one of the four largest producers in Europe. The liquid hydrocarbon will be made using a method developed by ORLEN Unipetrol researchers in collaboration with the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague.
The construction of the new production unit totalled 831 million Czech korunas (33.9 million euros), creating 20 new jobs as part of this investment.
“There is high demand for this product on global markets,” explained Tomasz Wiatrak, Chairman of the ORLEN Unipetrol Group’s Board of Directors. “In Europe, there is currently a deficit in DCPD production capacity. We expect demand to increase by an additional 26 per cent, by 40 per cent in American markets and by 60 per cent in Asian markets by 2030. The implementation of our own production technology allows us to use the flexibility of the unit and produce a product in a wide range of qualities from basic technical DCPD to highly pure DCPD for more demanding applications, for example for the production of transparent substances.”
“A close collaboration of our researchers with academia fundamentally contributes towards our technological development, and especially our co-operation with the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague has been at a high level for a long time,” he added.
ORLEN Unipetrol will produce DCPD with a distillation purity between 80 and 94 per cent. This configured product will be used for further production of polymer materials, resins, and chemical specialities used in, for example, the production of wind turbine propellers, coloured asphalt, adhesives, dyes and pigments, automobile and maritime components and skeletons, fibre optic cables, special lenses, medical components, packaging materials and sanitary products for kitchens and bathrooms.
“The collaboration of the University of Chemistry and Technology and ORLEN Unipetrol has had a long and successful tradition,” added Pavel Matějka, Rector of the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague. “Its origins date back to the 1990s. Our joint research and collaboration have always focused on developing technologies related to crude oil processing and petrochemistry. Therefore, the realisation of the technology to isolate DCPD developed by our experts is an excellent example of the connection between academia and industry.”