Exciting future possibilities for site and region
PCC SE is considering the construction of several production facilities at Evonik’s Lülsdorf site, south of Cologne. The chemicals production complex boasts a tradition that goes back 100 years. And the project will provide a significant boost to its further development. It should mean the creation of another 200 jobs to add to the 500 that already exist there. The region as a whole is benefiting from the growing economic power of the complex. The project promoter is our wholly owned subsidiary PCC Integrated Chemistries GmbH, which has its head office in Duisburg, Germany. The total investment spend is expected to be around 500 million euros.
At the heart of our plans is a major plant for the manufacture of ethylene oxide or EO for short. This new production capability will enable PCC to secure the long-term supply of this important feedstock for its Chemicals division. Five further plants will process the majority of the EO – about 140,000 metric tons annually – directly at the Lülsdorf site. The remaining output volume – around 40,000 metric tons per year – will be shipped to customers elsewhere, primarily by rail. The complex will also include a CO2 recovery plant enabling around 80 percent of the carbon dioxide produced during production to be fed back into the system. In planning this complex, PCC has adopted the very latest state of the art based on the most advanced standards.
PCC uses state-of-the-art and environmentally compatible technologies for all its investment projects. The facilities at the Lülsdorf site are also to be built using advanced systems and equipment, with continuous monitoring and maintenance by PCC during their service life. This means securing the highest safety standards – combined with the assurance accruing from PCC’s decades of experience, particularly in the handling of ethylene oxide (EO).
Due to its innate properties, EO – like many basic chemicals – needs to be treated with care. PCC implements comprehensive safety precautions in the production, storage and transport of ethylene oxide, its feedstocks and its downstream products. These safety arrangements are constantly reviewed in a continuous improvement process, with regularly analyses and monitoring performed by external experts and relevant authorities. The entire safety system is designed to meet the highest standards.
All the major components of the facilities will be available in independent multiples, thus ensuring the required redundancy for maximum availability and reliability. The facilities will always and only operate under safe conditions, with the plant control system designed to initiate all necessary protective measures, including automatic shutdown, in the event of a fault or exceedance.
With a comprehensive safety concept, regular training of our employees and close cooperation with the Evonik site fire department, we will ensure maximum protection during production, storage and transport.
The safety of residents and employees is our highest priority. In addition, it is our goal to protect and preserve the environment to the best possible effect. Wastewater from plant operations is to be processed in the central effluent treatment plant already in place at the site before being discharged into the Rhine. No water will be taken from or discharged into the Rhine to cool the plant.
We will also be implementing a process designed to better protect the climate: A CO2 recovery plant will bind around 80 percent of the climate-damaging CO2 produced in the main plant, thus preventing its discharge into the atmosphere. Instead, it will be used as a raw material in the manufacture of ethylene carbonates, which are needed for the production of lithium-ion batteries – for example for electric cars and e-bikes.
Our project is part of the site development initiative being pursued by Evonik. The facilities planned by PCC will contribute to securing the future of the Lülsdorf industrial site, the town’s largest employer with a long tradition, and should open up new perspectives for the area. The PCC facilities are expected to create 120 new direct jobs in Lülsdorf. The site would also become more attractive for other converting companies, not least because of the infrastructure measures that will be accompanying the plant construction work. This could increase the number of jobs created to up to 200. New companies at the location also mean new opportunities for local suppliers and service providers. In this way, the project could serve as a motor to local value creation and strengthen the competitiveness of the entire region.
The PCC project is still in at an early stage. Following a comprehensive analysis of nine European locations, the Lülsdorf site has emerged as our favorite. The main reason for this lies in the relationship of trust that we already have with Evonik. However, the final decision depends on the outcome of further analyses and investigations. It is important for us to inform all stakeholders, especially local residents, about our plans at the earliest possible juncture. And we intend to maintain this level of transparency as the process moves forward.
We expect to submit the permit applications to Cologne District Council in fall 2020. The latter will then handle the examination and decision-making process to determine whether or not construction of the planned facilities can go ahead. Initial preparations are already in train. The procedure under the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchV) provides for public participation arranged by the district authority and involves other public bodies (such as nature conservation associations). Concurrently, as part of our early public participation program, we are planning an open-invitation information event on Saturday, February 8, 2020 for all interested parties, including in particular residents and other stakeholders from the local neighborhood. We will have an open ear for your concerns and questions throughout the entire process and, of course and especially, during any future plant operations. Give us a call or get in touch >>
At all of our sites, we are committed to keeping the needs and concerns of local residents constantly in focus. However, impact on the neighborhood cannot always be completely avoided. We make every effort to minimize disruption and disturbances during both the construction phase and subsequent operations. Among other things, we commission expert opinions on the topics of traffic volume, noise and light pollution and species protection. As soon as these are available for this present project, we will be able to provide more specific information related to these areas. And one thing is for sure: Our facilities will comply with all prescribed limit values.
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