SHELL has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chinese petrochemicals manufacturing company CNOOC Oil & Petrochemicals (CNOOC) to explore Shell’s first commercial-scale polycarbonate (PC) production unit. The unit would be located at the Shell Petrochemical Company and CNOOC joint-venture chemicals complex in Huizhou, China.
PC is a transparent and impact-resistant engineering polymer used to make products such as vehicle headlights, LED spotlights, and ultraviolet-blocking windows and spectacles.
Shell’s patented diphenyl carbonate (DPC) process technology – developed over recent years to achieve advantages in cost, safety, efficiency, and CO2 footprint – will provide the platform for entry into the new product. DPC is a key intermediate in polycarbonate production.
The DPC technology will now be combined with melt-phase PC technology licenced from EPC Engineering and Technology in Germany for PC production.
Shell’s PC units will also produce alkyl carbonates, used in lithium batteries which support the energy transition.
In the interim, Shell has begun constructing a PC development unit at its chemicals plant in Jurong Island, Singapore.
According to Thomas Casparie, Executive Vice President of Shell Chemicals, the company has an advantaged route to production, and is looking at investing in a number of commercial-scale units to serve the growing number of PC customers. Shell said that a key part of its growth strategy is an expanded and different product range.
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