On behalf of Novolen Technology Holdings C.V., a joint venture company owned 80 percent by ABB and 20 percent by Equistar, ABB Lummus Global is able to offer for license the Novolen polypropylene technology including metallocene catalyst technology.
Novolen Technology Holdings C.V. (NTH) was formed to purchase the Novolen polypropylene technology business assets formerly owned by TARGOR GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Germany's BASF AG. These assets included catalyst, process and product technologies. Novolen Technology Holdings also acquired the rights to market and license Basell's metallocene polypropylene technology, used in the production of a new generation of high performance plastics.
Today's Spheripol process
is the result of 50 years of continual improvement in
polypropylene technology. However, to truly appreciate the unique
capabilties of this technology, it is helpful to understand the
evolution of the Polyproplyene industry and the break-throughs
that led to the discovery of the Spheripol process.
1960s: Polypropylene processes employed first generation low yield catalysts. These processes were costly and difficult to operate.
1970s: The discovery of second-generation high yield catalysts eliminated the need for catalyst residue removal, but the atactic content was still unacceptably high.
1980s: Third generation, high yield, high selectivity (HY/HS) catalysts eliminated the need for catalyst and atactic removal. This further simplified the process and improved product quality.
1982: Spheripol technology ? incorporating breakthroughs in process design, through the refinement of gas-phase and bulk polymerisation reactors.
Today, the capabilities of the Spheripol process are further enhanced by the current catalyst generation, which has the ability to produce new families of reactor-based products with improved properties. They offer even greater control over morphology, isotacticity and molecular weight, and continually challenging new frontiers in the development of propylene polymers.
Products and Applications
Isotactic polypropylene is well suited for a variety of end uses, ranging from flexible and rigid packaging to fibres and large moulded parts for automotive and consumer products.
Typical applications for polypropylene products produced in the Spheripol process include:
- Fibres and filaments
- Oriented and cast film
- Injection-moulded products
- Blow-moulded bottles and parts
- Thermoformed containers.
Random copolymers can be produced with excellent optical properties and sealing initiation temperatures in compliance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for food contact. Heterophasic copolymers with outstanding low-temperature behaviour, high-impact strength and enhanced stiffness can be obtained in a wide range of melt viscosities.
Spheripol Process Key Characteristics
The Spheripol process offers licensees a simple and economical method of producing a wide range of PP products of the highest quality. Today, more companies are using the Spheripol technology than the technologies of the three closest competitors combined. The unmatched success of Spheripol technology is a result of our focus on polyolefins and a commitment to continuous improvement.
> Safety and Loss prevention
Basell has a safety record among the best in the industry. To date, Basell technologies have achieved over 7 million operating hours without any major incident.
> Reducing Resource Intensity
Spheripol technology includes features that reduce both resource consumption and emissions from the process. These include use of high yield, highly stereospecific catalysts, the absence of solvents in the process to suspend the polymer (the suspension agent is the monomer itself), recovery and recycling of unreacted monomers, and the absence of undesired by-products from the reaction.
A year-on-year analysis of operating records from over 80 Spheripol process plants worldwide showed the average overall operability rate is about 98%. Of an average 2% downtime, less than 1% is due to process features.
In comparison with any gas-phase technology, a Spheripol process plant offers on a single polymerization line the widest range of homopolymers, random copolymers and terpolymers, as well as heterophasic impact and specialty impact copolymers covering all PP application fields.
Spheripol technology delivers prime quality with minimum property variation due to excellent process stability and the consistency of Basell's catalysts performance
> Design flexibility
A range of single line capacities from 40 to 550 kt/a is available for homopolymer, random copolymer or heterophasic impact copolymer, either using polymer grade or chemical grade monomer.
> Modular installation
By a modular installation, Spheripol process technology is easily adapted to meet changing market requirements when new business opportunities arise for licensees. This flexible modular design has virtually no impact on initial investment costs. The average expansion of existing plants that are in operation for more than 10 years is above 50% of the initial capacity. These expansions have typically been achieved through relatively minor adjustments.
> Low capital and operating costs
Capital costs for the Spheripol process are competitive with currently available PP processes. The technology also offers the lowest operating costs and excellent plant reliability and transition efficiency.
> Dedicated support
The experience of Basell's dedicated technology team is made available to Spheripol process licensees to ensure the highest degree of success during project implementation and plant operation.