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Clariant’s SynDane® catalyst chosen for Shenghong’s new world-scale biodegradable plastics project

Clariant Image Catalyst SynDane for Shenghong 20231121 small
  • Jiangsu Shenghong Petrochemical Co., Ltd (Shenghong Petrochemical) purchases Clariant’s SynDane catalyst for its new plant producing maleic anhydride for biodegradable plastics
  • The new plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China will have an annual capacity of 200,000 tons of Maleic anhydride
  • Using the SynDane catalyst, Jiangsu Eastern Shenghong Co will be able to achieve annual energy savings up to 24 million CNY 

MUNICH, NOVEMBER 21, 2023 – Clariant, a sustainability-focused specialty chemical company, today announced that it has been awarded a major contract by Jiangsu Shenghong Petrochemical Co., Ltd, to use Clariant’s SynDane 3142 LA catalyst for its new maleic anhydride (MA) production plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China. With a production capacity of 200,000 tons per year, the new plant slated for start of production in 2025, will be one of the largest production plants for MA worldwide. 

The plant in Lianyungang will produce maleic anhydride as an intermediate product for polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT), which in turn will function as a base product for biodegradable plastic. Using the SynDane catalyst, Shenghong Petrochemical will be able to improve production efficiency and reduce power consumption, leading to annual energy savings of up to 24 million CNY.

Xaver Karsunke, Head of Clariant Specialty Catalysts, commented: “Sustainability is at the heart of our company strategy to drive change by partnering with our customers to develop sustainable, efficient solutions. We are excited to support Shenghong in this ambitious and important project to address the plastic waste problem and maximize their energy savings during MA production with our innovative SynDane catalyst.”

With its unique shape design, SynDane 3142 LA reduces the pressure drop by 30%-35% and thereby significantly lowers compressor energy consumption. Moreover, it can operate under high n-butane load, which reduces energy consumption even further, because less air needs to be compressed to a lower pressure to achieve the same productivity level. The catalyst’s special structure and chemical composition also increases the selectivity towards MA which enhances product yield and reduces by-product formation, meaning less downtime for equipment cleaning. Production efficiency is further boosted by SynDane’s exceptionally long lifetime of up to 5 years. Lastly, its wide range of space velocity up to an excellent value of 2100 h-1 improves Shenghong’s flexibility in MA production volume, allowing the company to react to market demand fluctuations more quickly.

Jiangsu Shenghong Petrochemical Co., Ltd is a subsidiary of Shenghong Holding Group, one of the world’s leading energy and chemical enterprises that has vertically integrated the entire industrial chain.

“The new plant in Lianyungang will efficiently produce PBAT, a base product for biodegradable plastic, which significantly contributes to China's goal of phasing out the use of non-degradable plastics”, announced Shenghong Petrochemical. “We are deeply engaged in the development of new materials to advance the petrochemical industry’s transition towards sustainability. Partnering with Clariant to further improve the efficiency of our MA production is a major step in that direction.”

China aims to cut non-degradable single-use plastic significantly over the next two years, leading to a demand for biodegradable plastics of as much as 2.5 million metric tons by 20251. MA is an important base material for polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) biodegradable plastic, which can be decomposed completely by naturally occurring micro-organisms, leaving no toxic residues. PBAT is a biodegradable alternative to low-density polyethylene (LDPE), with similar properties, allowing it to be used for e. g. packaging foils and bags. Packaging foils and bags made of LDPE are one of the major contributors to environmental pollution.

Source: IHS Markit "Biodegradable Polymers“ 2021

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