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SDK to Modify Ethylene Plant for Higher Energy Efficiency

Showa Denko K.K.
September 5, 2007

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has decided to modify its ethylene plant at the Oita Petrochemical Complex on a large scale to improve the plant’s energy efficiency and cost-competitiveness, and to decrease CO2 emission.

Specifically, SDK will install two modern high-efficiency cracking furnaces—with ethylene production capacity of 100,000 tons per year each—to replace seven existing cracking furnaces. At the same time, SDK will take measures to improve the waste heat recovery system and modify the preliminary distillation system. As a result, the energy efficiency of the ethylene plant will improve by approximately 6% and CO2 emission will decrease by around 67,000 tons per year (when the feedstock is 100% naphtha).

Furthermore, the new cracking furnaces will enable increased use of non-naphtha feedstock, including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and heavy raw materials such as natural gas liquids (NGL), kerosene, and gas oil. The modification work will start in 2008 and will be completed in 2010, when maintenance shutdown of the ethylene plant is scheduled. The total production capacity of the ethylene plant will remain unchanged at 695,000 tons per year (for a year without maintenance shutdown).

In 2000, SDK scrapped one of the two ethylene production lines and replaced cracked gas compressors, reducing production costs while increasing the rate of internal consumption within the complex. This enabled SDK to operate its ethylene plant at high utilization rates without being largely influenced by fluctuations in demand for ethylene and propylene.

The seven cracking furnaces to be replaced have been in operation since 1969. Although they have been well maintained and have sufficient performance, SDK decided to replace them in view of such problems as increased maintenance costs and low efficiency compared with modern equipment. Furthermore, SDK intends to contribute to the prevention of global warming in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for Japan’s 6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), as part of its efforts to support private companies’ initiatives to increase energy efficiency, has decided to subsidize SDK’s ethylene plant modification work.

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