The most energy-efficient PDH installation in the world

The 20 kilometres to Lillo? Bart Janssens usually travels them on his bike. But in the last few years, running has become his passion – and the 51-year-old bio-engineer already has 23 marathons to his credit.

“The chair you’re sitting on, your sports shoes, your clothes, your mobile phone: a lot of things in today’s society would never have happened without chemistry – things that can sometimes be vital (medical applications) or that ensure that foodstuffs last longer (packaging films). Not everyone realizes it, but chemistry is everywhere,” says Bart Janssens, Operations Representative. And he adds with conviction: “With its chemical sector, the port is bringing prosperity to the city and the surrounding communities. You can’t overestimate the importance of Project ONE. ”

Focus on energy recuperation

Bart Janssens is the Operations Representative for the propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit of Project ONE, in which propylene is produced from propane. Propylene is used primarily as a raw material for the production of polypropylene polymer: which you know from applications such as films, fibres, containers, packaging, caps and closures. Propylene is also used to produce other chemicals that, in turn, are useful in a variety of other applications.

“I have to make sure that we start this unit on time, but above all safely.” And there is a lot involved – also because this will be the first PDH unit that INEOS will put into operation. But for Bart that’s exactly where the challenge lies.

“About 20 PDH units have been built worldwide. The technology itself is about 20 years old and has of course gone through a huge evolution in the area of energy-efficiency. We can affirm that we are going to install the most energy-efficient installation in the world. You can see this in the design as well, which aims at maximum energy recuperation.”

Project ONE’s ‘passive house’

“With such an enormous installation as Project ONE, INEOS is not opting for the cheapest, but rather the most sustainable, installation. And so we’re making conscious choices with this investment,” says Bart.

“We want to make the PDH as energy-efficient as possible. That’s more expensive, yes, but compare it to a house: building a passive house, in which you have virtually no energy loss, is more expensive than a house that is less well insulated. So, with Project ONE, we’re building a ‘house’ according to the best standards currently available. In the choice of materials too: we’re choosing high-quality materials so that this installation lasts as long as possible. Now that’s a lot more expensive – but over time, the investment will pay for itself.”

Proud of the City of Biscuits

As a citizen of Antwerp, Bart is proud that Project ONE is being realized in the City of Biscuits. “It’s a huge project for INEOS, and one of the largest projects ever in Antwerp. It shows that there are investors who believe in the importance of the chemical sector here in Antwerp. You also see that in the interest being shown by all kinds of companies: I’m already receiving queries from construction companies who want to collaborate with us. So many companies will benefit simply by the construction of this project: you can’t overstate that. With this project, together with the entire chemical sector, we’re creating prosperity for the city.

Bart emphasizes: “We’re working with the very best technologies, according to the strictest standards. As an engineer, I can ensure that our installation works as energy-efficiently as possible, with as few emissions as possible.”

“Personally, the project will be successful for me when we start up safely and grow into a reliable unit with a strong and close-knit team. And then Project ONE will be a very positive story.”

“With this project, together with the port, we’re creating prosperity for the city”

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