Chevron Philips Chemical Co. LLC (CPChem), a petrochemical joint venture owned by Phillips 66 and Chevron, has announced its intention to build a new unit at its Beringen petrochemical plant in Belgium to boost the production of polyalphaolefins (PAOs) there.
If granted local approval, the plant’s capacity to produce PAOs will double to 120,000 tonnes per year when the new unit comes online in 2024. The PAO molecule is highly stable with other performance qualities that make it superior to mineral oils in many ways. This is why it is used in many modern, high-quality synthetic lubricant products, greases, and industrial fluids, such as in Chevron’s own Texaco range. The announcement of the new unit comes as the global demand for PAOs is increasing.
The executive vice-president of specialties and polymers at CPChem, Mitch Eichelberger, said about the new unit:
“The construction of a new unit near our existing assets [i.e., those in Beringen] will allow us to benefit from strong local expertise and leverage Belgium’s central position to meet customer needs globally.”
The new unit is also expected to benefit from feedstock availability at the Belgian site. PAOs are important from a sustainability viewpoint because they are used in emerging energy-efficient applications that require good performance at extreme temperatures, such as electric vehicles and heat-transfer applications. What is more, as they help lubricants to reduce friction more than their traditional mineral-based counterparts, they can lower the energy consumption of machinery and help minimise the emissions and fuel consumption of vehicles.