Petrochemicals technology

BP's latest technology enables us to maximise the efficiency of our petrochemical plants and increase production levels, while driving down emissions and minimizing waste

BP is one of the world’s largest producers of purified terephthalic acid (PTA). PTA provides the vital raw materials for many of the things we take for granted in life, including clothes, home furnishings and drinks bottles.

BP’s portfolio of PTA operations and centralised research capability enables us to efficiently develop new technologies and to demonstrate and prove them at small scale in existing BP plants. Once proven, we can invest in new plants utilizing these latest technologies, and/or retrofit these technical advancements to existing operations
The newly-commissioned Zhuhai 3 joint venture in China is now producing PTA with the lowest energy consumption per tonne in the world, and setting new standards in environmental performance. The plant uses the latest commercialized BP technology to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower water use, and minimize waste.
"Zhuhai 3 has taken PTA manufacturing to new levels of efficiency, and is generating cost savings and lower environmental emissions."
Stafford McQuillin, PTA process technology manager
Advanced design and engineering solutions developed by BP and used at Zhuhai 3 enable the plant to recover the heat generated by the chemical reaction in PTA manufacture. A surplus of electricity generated is sufficient to meet all on-site requirements and feed electricity back into national grid. The Zhuhai 3 site generates the equivalent electricity needed to supply 35,000 homes.

Increased efficiency of our production processes, and cutting fuel use through new technology application, leads to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Waste generated in the plant passes through an anaerobic reactor which converts it to biogas which is sent back to the boilers as fuel.

Energy efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions

Advanced design and engineering solutions developed by BP and used at Zhuhai 3 enable the plant to recover the heat generated by the chemical reaction in PTA manufacture. A surplus of electricity generated is sufficient to meet all on-site requirements and feed electricity back into national grid. The Zhuhai 3 site generates the equivalent electricity needed to supply 35,000 homes.

Increased efficiency of our production processes, and cutting fuel use through new technology application, leads to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Waste generated in the plant passes through an anaerobic reactor which converts it to biogas which is sent back to the boilers as fuel.

Efficient water use

The new technology implemented at Zhuhai 3 reduces both the volume of fresh water feed and the volume of water needed to be sent for wastewater treatment. Water-based streams containing small amounts of impurities which were sent for treatment in earlier generations of the technology are now more efficiently reused .and recycled, resulting in a reduction in wastewater flow of approximately two-thirds, and also resulting  in higher product yields and reduced need for raw materials.

Other cost advantages

In a commodity business like PTA manufacture, low costs of production sustains competitiveness.

Paraxylene, the main raw material in PTA production, and the oxidation catalyst, represents about 95% of the total manufacturing cost. BP has re-designed the oxidation reactor to operate with less catalyst and at lower temperatures, and has re-configured the downstream product recovery processes to maximize efficiency. The amount of paraxlyene lost during conversion is reduced, delivering a significant improvement in raw material yield and manufacturing cost.

Zhuhai 3’s efficiency advantages

  • 75% lower water discharge than conventional PTA technology.
  • 65% lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • 95% lower solid waste generation.
  • The equivalent of 35,000 homes could be powered by the electricity generated by Zhuhai 3 plant.

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