Partners launch digitally-forward plant project

Article by Amanda Jasi

METHACRYLATE manufacturer Rӧhm has partnered with engineering consultant Wood to launch a significant, “digitally-forward” project to develop a new methyl methacrylate (MMA) production plant incorporating state-of-the-art technology products.

Wood has been awarded the contract for the engineering, procurement and construction management services of Rӧhm’s new MMA plant.

Methacrylate monomers and their derivatives are important precursors used in automotive and construction industries. In February, Rӧhm signed an MoU with OQ Chemicals and parent company OQ, an integrated energy company, for a new MMA plant at OQ’s Texas site. The 250,000 t/y facility, expected to create 70 direct jobs, will use Rӧhm’s proprietary Leading in Methacrylates (LiMA) technology for MMA production, which is based on raw materials ethylene and methanol.

According to Rӧhm CEO Michael Pack, the new plant will be the first to use the company’s LiMA technology on a large industrial scale. “Compared to other MMA processes, this technology has the clear advantage of cost leadership in operation and enables a high yield with low energy consumption,” he said.

Industrial software company Aveva will provide state-of-the-art technologies that will be fully integrated into the project. According to the partners, through technology products using artificial intelligence and digital twins, the project is expected to deliver value and sustainability by reducing operational costs, energy consumption, and wastewater.

The project aligns with the launch of Wood and Aveva’s alliance aiming to accelerate industrial digital transformation. Part of a 20-year strategic partnership, the project will be the first incorporating the full suite of tools offered by Aveva. The project also builds on more than 20 years of collaboration between Wood and Rӧhm.

The facility will be built at the site of OQ Chemicals in Bay City, Texas.  Mechanical completion is expected in October 2023.

OQ is actively engaged in engineering for construction of additional aldehydes capacities and site services needed to support investment by Rӧhm.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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