Kazanorgsintez planning to triple LDPE capacity and reduce emissions

Public hearings of a project on the reconstruction of Low-Density Polyethylene Plant’s Reactor B at Kazanorgsintez PJSC took place in Kazan

The Lushnikov Kazan Petrochemical College hosted the hearings of a Low-Density Polyethylene Plant’s Reactor B Reconstruction Project, which belongs to Kazanorgsintez, organised by the Committee for Housing and Utilities of Kazan. Two weeks to the date, anybody could ask questions on the websites of the committee or Kazanorgsintez and sign up for participating offline. Tens of people gathered in the hall on time. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

The most active people gathered

The beginning of the hearings resembled the preparation for classes at school the most. However, the place itself created such an atmosphere. Participants in the discussion sat at the desks. All talks stopped at 13.00 sharp.

“It is already the third hearing. We gathered for the first time during the discussion of the project’s terms of reference, then during the evaluation of its environmental impact, today is the stage of discussion of the full preparation of documentation, including the environmental aspect,” Vice Chairman of the Kazan Committee of Housing and Utilities Sergey Sotov took the floor.

He reminded the audience that every interested Kazan citizen had enough time to get acquainted with submittals published on the websites of the committee itself and Kazanorgsintez. Those who preferred working with a paper version could go to the headquarters of KOS during visiting hours. The most active people came to the discussion.

Amount of burnt hydrocarbons to reduce twice

Dmitry Lukyanov, acting head of Low-Density Polyethylene Production and Processing Plant (LDPEPPP), presented the project on behalf of Kazanorgsintez PJSC. He said that the reconstruction was planned on the site of today’s operating reactor designed to make gas-phase ethylene copolymer.

“Nowadays the capacity of Reactor B is 70,000 tonnes a year. The reconstruction is due to ensure the highest low-density polyethylene production up to 220,000 tonnes a year if the stable total maximum productivity of the LDPEPPP is no less than 115,000 tonnes an hour and the assortment of polyethylene brands is expanded,” he briefly set key objectives of the project.

During the reconstruction, it is planned to modernise the reactor itself, replace it with a more modern, more efficient vent vessel, connect the section of waste gas recovery with the system, modernise the existing flare system and improve the catalyst transportation and feed system.

“After the reconstruction, Reactor B will have an upgraded vent vessel where all waste gases of the reactor will be stripped. After that, these gases will go to the waste gas recovery system, which is planned beforehand, which will allow reducing emissions of hydrocarbon gases at the flare. The flare will also be subject to modernisation, namely, an additional separator catching polyethylene particles will be installed,” Lukyanov explained.

Like before, according to the technology, waste gases will be burned at flares. But there is a key moment:

“Nowadays with the efficiency of 70,000 tonnes a year in Reactor B, the discharge to the flares is 1,500-2,000 kg per hour, including up to 50% in ethylene and butene. In other words, we bury 750-1,100 kg at the flares. After the reconstruction of the reactor and the expansion of the capacity to 220,000 tonnes a year for ethylene, the discharge to the flare from Reactor B won’t change. A tripled capacity of the rector won’t increase the discharge thanks to the system of waste gas recovery and new polyethylene powder unloading and blowing systems. Emissions will still total 1,500-2,200, while the content of ethylene in them will go down up to 20%. So just 300-700 kg of hydrocarbons will be burnt, which is twice less than today,” the speaker provided data.

Recovered heavy hydrocarbons — butene, hexane, isopentane — are already valuable feedstock, they will return to the reaction zone. Instead of being burnt emitting harmful substances into the environment, they will be transformed into useful products people need.

Ecologists’ opinion: it’s unfeasible to refuse the project

Specialists of LENNIIHIMMASH Group of Companies from Saint Petersburg and ecologists worked on the site of the future works and at Kazanorgsintez in general and adjacent territories throughout the preparation of the project. Their task was to analyse the environmental situation for the time being and calculate how the picture would change after the reactor was modernised and put into operation.

“Kazanorgsintez PJSC analytically controls the pollution of the air at reference points on the border of the sanitary zone and the nearest residential area, the near-flare air is examined, it has a programme of observations of the water body in the water protected area approved with the Water Resource Department of the Lower Volga River Basin Water Management. According to engineering and environmental studies, the state of the environment is systematically overseen,” said engineer and ecologist from Saint Petersburg Yelena Fomina. According to the data obtained both from Kazan specialists and results of her own examinations, she concluded that on the borders and outside the sanitary and protection zone of Kazanorgsintez, all environmental requirements are rigorously met.

She also confirmed Lukyanov’s words that the modern technologies and equipment that would be used in the reconstruction won’t permit the environmental impact from growing, moreover, they will reduce emissions.

Yelena Fomina said that the engineer considered two options of reconstruction:

“The zero option is to save the production capacity at today’s level of 70,000 tonnes a year. This won’t influence the existing environmental situation and won’t require the construction of additional manufacturing zones. At the same time, this will lead to higher feedstock consumption in the reactor because waste gas is burnt at the flares, consequently, money will be lost because of this and the opportunity for production capacity expansion will be missed. Also, it won't be possible to employ a lot of free workforce. As the reactor reconstruction on the territory of the industrial site of Kazanorgsintez PJSC won’t have an environmental impact, this project may be implemented. While it is unfeasible to refuse the project, including from a perspective of environmental norms,” she concluded.

Q&A session

After the key reports ended, the audience had a chance of asking questions. One of the participants in the discussion was particularly interested in the fate of production waste.

“There is a project of the limited amount of waste on the site. All waste of the scheduled production is within the norm and will be handed over to certified organisations for recycling or burial. In other words, we don’t have any new production waste. Everything works according to the current pattern,” Fomina calmed the audience down.

It was also asked if the tripled capacity would lead to the expansion of the enterprise itself and the complex.

“All the reconstruction will take place within the existing factory, in the shop. The reconstructed production will not transcend either the borders of Kazanorgsintez PJSC or its own territory,” Lukyanov said.

At the end of the discussion, Sergey Sotov said that the citizens who still had questions about the project planned by Kazanorgsintez could ask them in the same way: on the website of the Kazan Committee for Housing and Utilities, on the website of Kazanorgsintez PJSC or go to the headquarters of the complex. The final version of the protocol of hearings is due to be published on 10 June.

By Arseny Favstritsky