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Testing out a world first

November 26, 2001, 08:00 CET

The first MTP facility in the world that converts methanol into propylene, a raw material for plastics production, is currently being tested at Statoil’s industrial plant at Tjeldbergodden in mid-Norway.

The German technology group Lurgi developed the MTP technology and built the device, and the demonstration plant arrived in Tjeldbergodden earlier this month.

“We have now got a response from the control module and have connected power, signals and telephones. The rest of the week will probably be spent testing and next week we will begin production,” reports Karl Jørgen Kristiansen, technical manager for implementing the testing.

Researchers believe that large-scale methanol factories are the future solution for gas produced in areas lacking the necessary infrastructure. Currently, large volumes of gas are flared off. The results from the operation of the demonstration plant will prove whether or not the technology can be used at a large plant, so that the gas can be put to use.

“If the demonstration plant performs well, Lurgi may build a large scale plant in two to four years,” says Uwe Finck, engineer in Lurgi. He is at Tjeldbergodden to assist in the start up of the plant.

In the next few days the unit will be tested for leaks. In addition, the electrical system will be checked thoroughly.

When the plant comes on stream, the objective is to achieve a yield of 70 per cent propylene from the methanol.