Companies

Manali Petrochemicals launches pilot for green polyol production

A Srinivas | | Updated on: Nov 17, 2021
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Will recreate UK partner Econic’s technology in manufacturing

Manali Petrochemicals Ltd (MPL), engaged in manufacture of petrochemical products, has embarked on what it calls first-of-its-kind pilot project along with its UK technology partner Econic for commercialisation of latter’s carbon-capture technology in order to achieve MPL’s twin objectives of going green in its manufacturing process and reducing dependence on fossil-fuel based raw materials.

Two months ago, MPL entered into an agreement with UK-based Econic Technologies with an objective of introducing greener polyol products with reduction in raw material cost. At present, its polyol production is driven by oil-based materials.

“We were on the lookout for a technology that can assist MPL and fit into the overall vision of the group. We were fortunate to identify Econic, which provides us a unique catalyst technology that would facilitate substitution of fossil fuel-based raw materials with captured CO2, thereby helping us to have a more sustainable and a cost-effect raw material,” Ashwin Muthiah, Chairman MPL and Chairman of AM International, Promoter Group, told BusinessLine .

MPL has taken up a pilot project to recreate Econic’s technology for its polyol manufacturing. The company expects to complete the pilot project within two years. Unlike the technologies available with a couple of petrochemical majors, Econic’s technology has the ability to work across the carbon chains and it means that MPL can produce a wide range in polyol, the market for which is estimated at about $28 billion globally.

“What we are attempting is a trial to see if this technology can succeed on a pilot product basis. The success of the project will tell us the extent of substitution can be made as well as to see whether the final product as we create meet the specification that the market needs,” Muthukrishnan Ravi, Managing Director of MPL.

Reduce raw material cost

The success of the ongoing pilot will help reduce the cost of raw material procurement for MPL. For example, if the company is able to substitute a minimum of 10 per cent CO2 technology, the savings would be in the region of about ₹50 crore on the raw material side, while enabling some reduction in oil-based raw materials, which are characterised by volatility both in prices and demand.

“Also, if we start substituting CO2 technology, hopefully we can tell our customers that the product we sell is greener than what it was. Will it fetch some premium price by being partially green? It depends on how the customer will appreciate it. It is never given that a greener product will fetch a higher price,” said Muthiah.

Of course, success of the pilot project will call for some additional investment in retrofitment of production machinery and installation of some new equipment at the unit. “But, still it may not be a big investment. For a 15,000-tonne polyol plant, we may have to invest in the range of ₹15-30 crore,” said Ravi.

Published on November 17, 2021

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