ORLEN Group launching new petrochemical product

In line with its strategic vision until 2030, the ORLEN Group is taking steps to consolidate its position as Central Europe’s leading petrochemical producer. At the Litvínov plant in the Czech Republic it has launched a unit for the production of dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) – a compound used in the automotive, construction, electrical engineering, pharmaceutical and medical sectors, as well as other industries. By adding DCPD to its portfolio, the ORLEN Group has joined the group of its four largest producers in Europe. ORLEN Unipetrol’s annual output of DCPD will reach up to 26,000 tonnes. The cost of constructing the new unit was CZK 831m (about PLN 166m). 

- We have a strong focus on investments aimed to strategically develop the ORLEN Group’s business, including in advanced petrochemicals. The unit that has just come on stream in the Czech Republic is our response to growing market needs. As one of Europe’s largest producers of DCPD, the ORLEN Group is solidifying its position by lengthening the value chain and strengthening the Group-wide business - says Daniel Obajtek, CEO of PKN ORLEN.

There is strong demand for DCPD globally and a shortage of DCPD capacities noted in Europe. Judging by the existing market trends, demand for the product is likely to grow by another 26%. By 2030, demand in American markets may grow by 40%, and in Asia – by up to 60%.

Dicyclopentadiene is a liquid hydrocarbon produced in the refining and steam cracking of naphtha and gas oils. It will be produced in Litvínov
based on a technology developed by scientists from ORLEN Unipetrol and the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague. The process was developed as part of a project to find a method of separating hydrocarbons that are secondary products from petrochemical facilities and may find market applications.

- Our University and ORLEN Unipetrol have a long tradition of engaging in joint projects, dating back to the 1990s. The focus of our research and cooperation has been on the development of technologies associated with oil refining and petrochemicals. Therefore, the DCPD separation technology developed with joint contributions of our experts is an excellent example of successful interaction between science and business - says
Pavel Matějka, rector of the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague.

ORLEN Unipetrol’s DCPD product will have a purity between 80% and 94%. It will be an intermediate for a variety of other products, including polymeric materials, resins and chemical materials used in the manufacture of wind turbine rotor blades, coloured asphalts, adhesives, inks, paints or special lenses, among other things. In addition, DCPD will find a number of applications in automotive production (car frames), construction (washing and toilet facilities for kitchens and bathrooms), electrical engineering (fiber optic cables), as well as the pharmaceutical and medical industries.