March 25, 2012
Our products touch the lives of everyone, from mobile phones to DVDs and pharmaceuticals to plastics, modern society has grown to rely on items manufactured from refined oil products and petrochemicals.
The petrochemicals sector is a significant contributor to the Scottish economy, employing
14 000 people directly, 1350 of which are based at INEOS in Grangemouth. The industry is one of Scotland’s top exporters valued at over £3.5bn annually.
As the largest industrial site in Central Scotland, whilst we have an important part to play in wealth creation, we also have a duty to reduce our impact on the environment via constantly focusing on improvements to our operations and by the application of the products we make.
INEOS’ Grangemouth site produces over one million tonnes of petrochemicals per year, including polyethylene, polypropylene, ethanol and ethylene. These products play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gases and improving safety via their application in, for example, the motor industry:
Innovation in cleaner technologies is one of the ways that we are able to meet the climate challenge. INEOS is actively developing light-weight plastics used in vehicle components that are helping to contribute to lighter vehicles. INEOS Technologies continues to develop low-weight, high strength polymers that will deliver lower greenhouse gas emissions through the use of less material, and the replacement of materials such as metals and glass which require more energy to make and transport.
The nine million litres of clean fuels we manufacture per day – ultra low sulphur petrol and diesel – provides most of the automotive fuel used in Scotland and northern England. We meet the requirement – under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) – to deliver road fuel with a specific percentage made up of renewable fuels. We have invested millions of pounds to build plants to remove sulphur from motor fuels to extremely low levels. The removal of sulphur at the Grangemouth refinery contributes to lowering emissions of sulphur dioxide from exhausts and our fuel additives improve fuel efficiencies and performance of motor vehicles.
Our technology is being used to develop biofuels from non-crop resources such as municipal waste. INEOS Bio is commercialising technology to efficiently convert a broad range of low-cost organic carbon materials, including the biodegradable portion of municipal wastes and forestry and agricultural wastes into clean, renewable bioethanol fuel. The bioethanol produced will deliver substantial greenhouse gas savings compared to petrol. This allows clean renewable fuel production in a genuinely sustainable way with no impact on food production. The technology can also be extended to manufacture advanced fuels and valuable chemical intermediates from a wide range of low-cost carbon materials.
INEOS at Grangemouth remains fully committed to minimising the impact of our operations on the environment. The company has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in an ongoing programme that continues to deliver environmental improvements.
We continue to make process improvements aimed at improving our energy intensity, investing in our plants, improving efficiency and reducing waste. Grangemouth was one of the first major industrial sites in the UK to build a combined heat and power plant (CHP). Much of the energy we use on site comes from this modern and highly efficient CHP, co-located at the site which is twice as efficient as compared to a coal fired power station.
With investment to improve plant reliability and a keen focus on operations, the Grangemouth site delivered a reduction in flaring of waste gases of 60% for the first three quarters of 2009 over the same period of 2008 – which equates to a reduction of 142 000 tonnes CO2 equivalent. Flare gas recovery units have also reduced emissions during 2009, with savings of 49 000 tonnes CO2 equivalent. Combined, our efforts in reducing emissions have seen a total reduction in the order of 200 000 tonnes CO2 equivalent in 2009. Over the last decade emissions from the refining and petrochemical complex have reduced significantly and our long-term investment programme aims to see this improvement continue.
* Data from British Plastics Federation