Orlen Unipetrol SA subsidiary Orlen Unipetrol RPA SRO is building a grassroots heat recovery unit to improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs at its 3.3-million tonne/year (tpy) refinery in Kralupy nad Vltavou, Czech Republic, as part of parent company Orlen SA’s broader strategy to achieve carbon neutrality across operations by 2050.
Already under construction, the more than 500-billion crown ($122 million) project involves installation of a new unit—based on proprietary, acid-resistant polymer heat exchanger technology developed and engineered by Orlen Unipetrol—designed to recover heat from flue gases generated in furnaces of the refinery’s crude distillation block that will be reused to reheat boiler feed water for production of steam at the site’s fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit, Orlen and Orlen Unipetrol said in separate Dec. 5 releases.
Once operable, the new heat recovery unit will eliminate the refinery’s current need of sourcing the entirety of its boiler feed water from a municipal gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant by enabling the refinery to produce about one third of its required boiler water in house using about 5 Mw of heat energy anticipated to be recovered from its own flue gases, according to the companies.
Scheduled for a mid-2025 startup, the new heat recovery unit will allow the refinery to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions related to obtaining boiler water by 15,000 tpy, according to the companies.
The Kralupy refinery upgrade comes as part of Orlen Unipetrol’s more than 35-billion crown ($1.6 billion) proposed spending program on a series of initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations in the Czech Republic by 25% by 2030 from 2020 levels.