Paraxylene (PX) is a colourless, flammable liquid that has a sweet odour. It is separated from a mixed xylene stream that results from the refining of petroleum. PX in Geel is used exclusively as a feedstock for the local manufacture of purified terephthalic acid (PTA). The PX-operations in Geel is one of the largest PX-units in the world and is based on BP technology. Apart from PX, the unit produces benzene and fuel additives. The feedstock, xylenes, is supplied from a number of refineries.
Since the Spring of 2000, paraxylene (PX) has been produced at Geel. The construction of a PX-unit was given the go-ahead when it became clear that it would be strategically and financially advantageous to produce locally the raw material for the PTA-units (purified terephthalic acid) already on site. The new PX-unit was a logical step in the integration of the site and created 40 direct jobs.
The PX production in Geel is exclusively for in-house use to produce PTA.
The construction of the PX-unit demonstrated a very high safety level. In a total of 1.8 million man-hours there was only one lost time accident.
The finished unit is very quiet: the designers have done pioneering work and applied supreme top technology and knowledge to achieve such effective noise reduction.
The PX-unit is the crème de la crème when it comes to restricting and monitoring benzene emissions. These are measured and checked at five levels.