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OMV commissions new ISO C4 plant jointly developed with BASF

OMV commissions new ISO C4 plant jointly developed with BASF
Photo courtesy of OMV

The  collaboration between BASF, the world’s largest chemical company based in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and OMV, the international, integrated oil, gas and chemical company headquartered in Vienna, Austria, has reached a new milestone with the commissioning of OMV´s new ISO C4 plant at the Burghausen site in Germany.

The plant, which is based on a novel technology, has been producing high-purity isobutene since the end of 2020.  Its exceptional energy efficiency saves 20,000 metric tons of CO2  emissions per year. Up to 80% of the heating energy required for the new process  can be met by thermal discharge from an existing associated facility thanks to a  heat integration approach.  

The energy-efficient process for the production of isobutene, achieving up to 99.9% purity, was developed in cooperation between BASF and OMV. A  worldwide patent application was filed jointly by the two companies. As a global  supplier of catalysts and licensor of petrochemicals technologies, BASF provides  the catalyst and reaction concept that intrinsically fulfils all process requirements  by OMV. The new unit for the production of high-purity isobutene, which does not  need chemical conversion of isobutene, has been integrated into the existing  metathesis plant at OMV’s Burghausen site. 

The isobutene produced here complements OMV’s existing product portfolio and  will be used for manufacturing glues, grease and other chemicals such as  antioxidants, as well as in the production of vitamin C. The plant’s production  capacity is 60,000 tons per annum (t/a). 

Investment volume of this large scale project including auxiliary facilities was EUR64 million (USD76 million). Recognizing its superior energy efficiency and contribution to CO2 reduction, Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment subsidized EUR2.8 million (USD3.3 million) towards the ISO C4 plant as part of its environmental innovation program. 

 Construction of the plant had started in the summer of 2019. Despite the  coronavirus pandemic, the project was successfully realized with the  implementation of a customized hygiene and safety concept.  

“The new ISO C4 plant illustrates OMV’s innovative strength. It marks another step  in implementing our chemicals strategy and safeguards the Burghausen site’s  long-term future. The technology, jointly developed with our partner BASF, and the  global patent are set to unlock new markets and customer segments for us. The  project team has done an outstanding job. The first product deliveries have  already been completed and they have met and even exceeded the expectations  of everyone involved,” said Wolfram Krenn, OMV senior vice president, Refining &  Petchem Assets Europe.  

“As a global leader for process catalysts, BASF serves also as a development  partner for our customers. We are proud to support OMV in becoming even more  successful. Having demonstrated the performance in OMV’s new ISO C4 plant,  the new process will now be available to third parties,” said Detlef Ruff, senior  vice president, Process Catalysts at BASF.