Terephthalic acid (TPA) is a precursor to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), one of the world’s most widespread polymers that is used in the production of plastic bottles for beverages, synthetic fibres, various packaging, and medical supplies. TPA is also used to make eco-friendly plasticisers for toys, flooring and other products. In Russia, annual consumption of TPA amounts to around 500 kt. An increase in output from 272 to 350 ktpa driven by the upgrade of the existing capacities in Blagoveshchensk will help largely phase out reliance on imports.
A modern gas oxidiser built as part of the project makes it so the facility no longer requires natural gas, which will result in 50% less emissions. The transition to rotary pressure filters will translate into 1.5 times lower industrial wastewater discharges from the terephthalic acid production. In addition, the new air cooling system will almost fully prevent excessive evaporation into the atmosphere resulting from a significant release of heat during terephthalic acid synthesis. After the upgrade, vapour will return to the process flow, improving the facility’s energy efficiency multifold.
The project spanned 2017–2019 and included upgrading more than 150 units of the core process equipment as well as most of the auxiliary equipment. The scope of key works covered 11 buildings on the production site. The general designer was GSE-Giprokauchuk, a Russian design institute. Over 40 Russian contractors were engaged to carry out construction, installation and commissioning works. A significant part of the equipment was sourced from domestic producers, including Volgogradneftemash, Tatneft Trade and Technology House, and Dimitrovgradkhimmash.
More than RUB 6 bn was spent on the project, including an approximately RUB 1 bn loan from the Foundation for Development of Single-Industry Towns.
Dmitry Konov, Chairman of the Management Board at SIBUR Holding:
“While not SIBUR's most large-scale project, the TPA production upgrade is definitely the one that is most sophisticated, as we have overhauled and expanded the existing capacities instead of building new ones from scratch. It was well worth it though, as the additional volumes will ensure 100% capacity utilisation of Perm’s eco-friendly plasticiser facility that we launched this spring. We also outfitted the site with cutting-edge solutions to make TPA production even greener and more efficient.”