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LANXESS opens EU’s largest N2O reduction plant in Flanders

German specialty chemicals company LANXESS has taken another step toward climate neutrality at the Port of Antwerp in Flanders. The company has invested EUR 10 million in the construction of a special plant that will significantly reduce nitrous oxide emissions at its Lillo production site. The installation was inaugurated online in the presence of Flanders’ Minister-President, Jan Jambon.

Initially, the project will lead to an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 150,000 tons of CO2. But it doesn’t end there… A second installation is scheduled to be built in 2023, which will lead to an additional reduction of 300,000 tons of CO2 per year.

With this project, LANXESS shows that innovating in pioneering climate tech is key in the current transition to a low-carbon industry in Flanders. The chemical industry supplies the materials needed for a climate-friendly society.

Frank Beckx
CEO of essenscia vlaanderen, Flanders’ chemical industry federation

Breaking down 500 tons of N2O per year

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a greenhouse gas created as a by-product during the production of the semi-finished plastic product caprolactam, an essential component of high-grade electronics and lightweight materials for energy-efficient cars, among other things. The new LANXESS plant will break down around 500 tons of nitrous oxide a year, equivalent to 150,000 tons of avoided CO2 emissions.

Largest of its kind in Europe

To pull this off, LANXESS relies on innovative technology with high energy efficiency. At the new plant, nitrous oxide is split into nitrogen and oxygen at temperatures of around 1,000 degrees Celsius, completely neutralizing the greenhouse gas. Then, at temperatures between 250 and 450 degrees Celsius, the installation further breaks down nitrogen oxides (NOx) into nitrogen and water. Specially developed ceramic heat exchangers capture the heat that is released and then reuse it. As a result, far less energy needs to be added from outside to keep the process going.

Operational since the end of 2020, the new, cutting-edge plant is the largest of its kind in Europe and will be significantly expanded from 2023.

Local talent: 1,000 strong

LANXESS has two leading production sites in Flanders and employs around 1,000 people in the Antwerp port area. As such, the German company’s site in Lillo manufactures the semi-finished products caprolactam and polyamide, while its Kallo site produces fiberglass and rubber chemicals.

Together, these two sites form the heart of LANXESS’s international activities as a world leader in high-tech plastics. LANXESS is also part of the ECLUSE industrial steam network at Waaslandhaven, the part of the Port of Antwerp located on the left bank of the Scheldt river. This network cuts 100,000 tons of CO2 per year, and generates the equivalent output of 50 wind turbines.

We adhere to the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. Our innovative plant in Antwerp is a central pillar in the plan to make LANXESS climate neutral. Since its founding in 2004, LANXESS has more than halved its greenhouse gas emissions. 

Hubert Fink
member of the LANXESS Executive Board

Sustainable chemistry track record

The recent investment by LANXESS fits in perfectly with Flanders’ track record of sustainably minded projects, players and initiatives within the chemical industry. Examples include:

More info

Reported by
website essenscia
26 March 2021

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