The Urethane Blog

LyondellBasell’s World Largest PO/TBA Plant Starts

LyondellBasell Commissions World’s Largest PO/TBA Unit

HOUSTON, March 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — LyondellBasell (NYSE: LYB) today announces it has successfully started up the world’s largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) unit in Texas. These new assets on the U.S. Gulf Coast have an annual capacity of 470 thousand metric tons of PO and one million metric tons of TBA and its derivatives.

Photo of the new LyondellBasell propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA) unit in the Houston area. The facility is the largest of its kind in the world.

“The world-leading capacity of the new plant positions us to meet the growing demand for products essential for modern life,” said Chris Cain, LyondellBasell senior vice president for Global Manufacturing. “Our company strives to be trailblazers in our industry and make positive contributions through our environmental and sustainability initiatives. This project advances our company’s goals and creates value while meeting customer and society’s needs, and it involved a collaborative effort between multiple project teams at Bayport, Channelview and around the world to deliver a project of this magnitude.”

The PO/TBA project is a split facility design, intended to optimize production and leverage synergies shared by the LyondellBasell Channelview Complex located in Channelview, Texas and the LyondellBasell Bayport Complex located in Pasadena, Texas. The 140-acre PO/TBA plant was built at the Channelview Complex, while the associated 34-acre ethers unit, which will convert TBA to oxyfuels, was built at the Bayport Complex.

The project is part of the company’s multi-billion dollar series of investments along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Based on an analysis by the Greater Houston Partnership, the LyondellBasell PO/TBA project is estimated to generate more than $450 million in tax benefits for the county, school district, community college and other local taxing districts over a 10-year period.

The development of LyondellBasell PO/TBA operations began at the Bayport Complex, with the first PO/TBA unit starting up in 1969. Through 50-plus years of global experience with PO/TBA operations and applying new innovations in yield improvement and PO recovery, the PO/TBA plant at the Channelview Complex is the most energy efficient PO/TBA facility in company history.

Propylene Oxide (PO)
PO goes into making polyurethane foam typically used to create mattresses and car and furniture seat cushions. It is also used to make insulation, which can be used to increase the energy efficiency of homes and businesses.

Other common end uses for these products include liquid detergents, toothpaste, cosmetics, paints and spandex fabrics.

Tertiary Butyl Alcohol (TBA)
TBA is converted to produce two ether-based oxyfuels, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE). Both MTBE and ETBE are high-octane fuel additives that help gasoline burn more efficiently, reducing emissions from automobiles.

About LyondellBasell  
As a leader in the global chemical industry, LyondellBasell strives every day to be the safest, best operated and most valued company in our industry. The company’s products, materials and technologies are advancing sustainable solutions for food safety, access to clean water, healthcare and fuel efficiency in more than 100 international markets. LyondellBasell places high priority on diversity, equity and inclusion and is Advancing Good with an emphasis on our planet, the communities where we operate and our future workforce. The company takes great pride in its world-class technology and customer focus. LyondellBasell has stepped up its circularity and climate ambitions and actions to address the global challenges of plastic waste and climate change. For more information, please visit www.lyondellbasell.com or follow @LyondellBasell on LinkedIn.

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