How a combined approach supported by significant investment will improve energy efficiency by 20% by 2030 at Borealis’ Porvoo Plant in Finland

“Part of our commitment to bringing about a carbon-neutral future means re-inventing for more sustainable living. We will continue to find innovative ways to protect the climate by reducing our own environmental footprint,” Wolfram Krenn, Borealis Executive Vice President Base Chemicals and Operations. 

Lower CO2 emissions, energy consumption, and flaring 

In early 2021, Borealis announced its plans to invest EUR 17.6 million in its polyolefins site in Porvoo, Finland. The funds will go towards the installation of a new Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO), which will significantly lower the site’s CO2 emissions, reduce flaring and save around 60-gigawatt hours (GWh) energy each year. 

20% improvement in energy efficiency by 2030 

The installation of a new RTO – a piece of air pollution control equipment designed to treat exhaust air – along with the requisite piping for the polyolefins plants will generate approximately 16 bar steam. This newly won steam will replace around 50% of the heat energy currently required for Porvoo Polyolefins operations in a cleaner and more efficient way. Projected annual energy savings are approximately 60 GWh. 

Reducing CO2 emissions 

The RTO will also enable the Porvoo plant to generate its own steam instead of drawing on steam from the external source. This means that nearly 18,000 tons of indirect CO2 emissions – referred to as Scope 2 emissions in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol – which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, can now be avoided once installation has been completed in 2023. 18,000 tons of CO2 equals the average annual emissions of 10,000 passenger cars.  

Further emission reductions will also be gained starting around mid-2022, thanks to the two long-term purchase power agreements (PPAs) to source power generated from Finnish wind farms. These PPAs alone elevate the share of renewables in Porvoo’s overall electricity consumption to 13%, thus moving Borealis yet another step closer to its goal of sourcing 50% of electricity consumption from renewable sources in its Hydrocarbon & Energy and Polyolefins operations by 2030. 

Reduced flaring 

Another of Borealis’ integral energy and climate goals is to achieve zero continuous flaring. While flaring is a necessary measure used in petrochemical operations to safely burn excess gases which cannot be recycled or otherwise recovered, flaring results in emissions and noise. The practice also incurs high operational costs. The new RTO will decrease flaring at Porvoo by around 6,000 tons/year. 

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Borealis invests EUR 17.6 million to lower CO2 emissions, energy consumption, and flaring at plant in Finland – Borealis (borealisgroup.com) 

Borealis

Borealis is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced and circular polyolefin solutions and a European market leader in base chemicals, fertilizers and the mechanical recycling of plastics. We leverage our polymers expertise and decades of experience to offer value-adding, innovative and circular material solutions for key industries. In re-inventing for more sustainable living, we build on our commitment to safety, our people and excellence as we accelerate the transformation to a circular economy and expand our geographical footprint. 

With head offices in Vienna, Austria, Borealis employs 6,900 employees and operates in over 120 countries. In 2020, Borealis generated EUR 6.8 billion in sales revenue and a net profit of EUR 589 million. OMV, the Austria-based international oil and gas company, owns 75% of Borealis, while the remaining 25% is owned by a holding company of the Abu-Dhabi based Mubadala. We supply services and products to customers around the globe through Borealis and two important joint ventures: Borouge (with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, or ADNOC, based in UAE); and Baystar™ (with TotalEnergies, based in the US). 

Borealis in Porvoo, Finland 

Borealis’ production facility in Porvoo is a fully integrated petrochemical complex comprising an Innovation Centre, Customer Service Centre and six production plants: a cracker for the production of olefins (ethylene, propylene and butadiene), a phenol and aromatics plant, two plants for polyethylene PE (one is a Borstar® plant), a polypropylene (PP) and a compounding unit. The main applications produced are pipe products steel pipe coating, packaging and cable products. Borealis’ innovation centre in Porvoo focuses on catalyst and process research and includes catalyst scale-up facilities and fully integrated Borstar PE and PP semi-commercial pilot plant lines. Borealis’ Customer Service Centre supports customers in Finland, the Nordic and Baltic countries and distributors over Europe. Borealis in Finland employs around 900 employees.