Trinseo’s Norrkoping plant in Sweden recently converted from powering its steam boiler with crude oil to liquified petroleum gas (LPG). This conversion was part of Trinseo’s efforts to optimize its operations in support of its sustainability journey.
According to Peter Nilsson, production and site leader at Norrkoping, Binders Operations, “Gasoil E32 is a heavier petroleum product than LPG, and LPG, since it’s the product of a crude oil refinery process, burns a lot cleaner, meaning that it produces less particulate matter and potentially harmful gasses.
“By making the switch,” he said, “Trinseo has been able to lower C02 emissions by 20 percent and N0X emissions by 30 percent.”
The conversion to LPG happened at the end of April 2021 after only 10-months. “In July 2020, the Norrkoping team began scoping the project. We needed to move quickly and had to get BEWI -- the end customer for the steam from the process -- onboard,” said Ylva Borgström, Improvement Engineer, Binders Operations. Project requirements included a new unloading area to accept LPG deliveries, a new 99 m3 storage tank to replace the existing crude oil storage tank, and various equipment to accommodate the new LPG source, i.e., an evaporator, flow meters, and control valves.
“Throughout the project and during the conversion, we were able to minimize downtime,” said Joakim Kula, Senior Maintenance Team Leader Binders Operations. “Our project team worked tirelessly to develop and test new processes, establish safety protocols, and anticipate potential failures. Adding to the complexity was COVID 19 and challenges of scheduling and social distancing.”
Another critical aspect was working with local authorities on permits. “We were dealing with a potentially risky transition, and safety was the number one priority,” said Erhan Lindquist, EH&S Engineer, Binders Operations. Work stopped minimally from April 18 to 21, with production under LPG beginning April 22.
Currently, Norrkoping receives weekly shipments of LPG, like under the old energy source. “Another added benefit,” said Nilsson is a reduction in fuel cost. We save approximately 20 to 30 percent.”
Trinseo’s Norrkoping plant supplies coatings for Latex Binders’ paperboard customers. The plant is co-located in a Chemical Park, and our evolution to LPG allowed Trinseo to be the supplier of all produced steam sold on site. LPG makes the Norrkoping site unique since most of Trinseo’s other facilities rely on liquified natural gas (LNG). Due to the lack of infrastructure for natural gas distribution in Sweden's middle and Northern regions, LPG was the only viable solution.
*Project Team: Ylva Borgstrom and Joakim Kula, project leaders with Erik Arkler, Gert-Jan Griffioen, Michael Soderberg, Johan Axby, Erhan Lindquist, Antoine Mangnus, and Gerard Looije and several others who supported the project team.