Syclus choses Axens to provide Atol® technology for Europe’s first ethanol-based renewable ethylene production plant

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Syclus intends to build and operate a plant for the production of renewable ethylene from sustainable ethanol in Chemelot Industrial Park, Geleen, The Netherlands. With an annual production capacity in the range of 100,000 tonnes, this renewable ethanol-to-ethylene production plant would be a first in Europe, paving the way for a more sustainable way of producing plastics.

The facility will rely on Atol® technology from French company Axens. Among many other benefits, Atol®  features very high, cost-effective, ethylene yields thanks to a best-in-class catalyst, and allows for an optimized use of process energy, which minimizes emissions. The technology can produce ethylene widely regarded as having the highest quality on the market, fulfilling the specifications required by Chemelot and also by the ARG, the extensive ethylene pipeline network in Northwest Europe. 

Basic engineering is scheduled to start in late 2023, and production in 2026. Ethanol will be regionally produced by CropEnergies, who operates a plant for the production of renewable ethanol nearby and who has aquired a major share in Syclus in 2022. The investment required is estimated to be more than EUR 130 million.

Syclus has selected Axens as licensor for the ethanol to ethylene project. Axens’ Atol technology provides a high efficiency combined with a low energy consumption process next to high product quality and safety performance. This supports Syclus’ ambition to set a new benchmark in renewable ethylene. Based on our cooperation Axens has shown to share Syclus’ ambition and we are convinced to have selected the right partner to make the design, construction and operation of our plant a success.
Igor Hensing
General Director of Syclus B.V.
Having a 50 percent stake in Syclus, we are very happy that they have taken the next step for the realization of the ethanol to ethylene project with the selection of Axens as a partner. Renewable ethylene is an important step in defossilizing the production of plastics, making it more sustainable. Depending on the results of the feasibility study which is currently being carried out, CropEnergies expects to make a decision for the next phase, which will be the basic engineering, by the end of this year.
Stephan Meeder
CEO/CFO of CropEnergies AG
Atol is a mature technology that already counts 5 references around the world. We couldn’t be happier to work on Atol’s first reference in Europe and are honored to have been selected by Syclus. Atol is a safe, reliable, low-carbon solution and we have all the reasons to believe that it is the future of renewable ethylene.
Jacques Rault
Executive Vice President Technology & Technical Support of Axens

About Atol®

Atol® is a technology for production of polymer grade ethylene by dehydration of any kind of renewable ethanol from biomass or waste. The ethylene produced can be integrated in partial and/or total replacement of fossil hydrocarbon based ethylene in various downstream polymerization installations without requiring modifications.

Atol® is the result of a strong partnership between TotalEnergies, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) and its affiliate Axens that began in 2011. It benefits from each partner bringing mutually compatible skills to the table, from catalyst development, cracker operations and ethylene purification, to scale-up, modeling and process expertise. Axens is the entity in charge of commercializing Atol® , providing all licensing services so that end customers and investors can benefit from end-to-end guarantees.

The Atol® ​​​​​​​ program forged the solid background and technology reputation of Axens as technology provider in the alcohol dehydration field and has led to a family of processes with the clear ambition of bringing bio-olefins production to scale, unlocking the potential of alcohols for biofuels and biochemicals applications.