The plant receives its main raw material, ethylene gas, via a pipeline from the storage tank at the refinery complex.
The gas is converted into polyethylene in high-pressure tube reactors. During the production process, the pressure in the reactors can rise up to 3000 bar. The gas is then heated to 200 degrees Celsius. The end product is separated from the non-polymerised ethylene gas at atmospheric pressure. The molten polyethylene is subsequently cooled and exits the process as plastic pellets with a diameter of two millimetres.
The polymers plants' products are used to make, for example, (food) packaging and plastic carrier bags. Because polyethylene is manufactured in a closed system, the production process is fairly environmentally friendly.
Increasingly more sustainable
In collaboration with the European Technology Centre in Brussels (see page 20), the two polymers plants work constantly on improving their products to stay abreast of current trends. Packaging foils are becoming increasingly stronger, thinner and more sustainable. For the production of – some ultra-thin – foil less and less material is needed, which has led to reductions in transport operations and waste. High-quality plastic packaging plays an important role in extending the shelf-life of perishable food and preventing spoilage.
ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical, B.V.B.A.
Meerhout Polymers Plant
Tel.: +32 (0)14/86.31.11
Polderdijkweg, 2030 Antwerp
VAT BE 0416.375.270
BoA Antwerp EUR 685-6689016-61
Number of employees: 165
Polyethylene, LDPE and polyethylene co-polymers: EscoreneTM Ultra EVA