Petrochemical major LyondellBasell on Monday announced the opening of the 70,000-square-foot Houston Technology Center to develop process technologies and chemical catalysts for its intermediates and derivatives business.
Research and development activities at the facility will focus on improving catalyst and process technologies to reduce manufacturing costs, improve yields, and lower capital costs of new construction for LyondellBasell's global chemicals business.
Proprietary technologies supported at the site include propylene oxide, butanediol and derivatives, glycols and glycol ethers, acetyls, olefins and solvents.
Manufacturing plants supported by the center include three Houston-area facilities in Channelview, Bayport and La Porte, Texas, as well as Botlek and Maasvlakte, Netherlands, Fos-sur-Mer, France, and a joint venture in Ningbo, China.
The center will employ approximately 80 people, 22 of whom relocated from the company's former facility near Philadelphia, with the balance hired locally. The new facility is adjacent to the company's largest US manufacturing complex in Channelview, east of Houston.
"The Houston Technology Center will support research to improve our current processes and catalysts and provide the capability to develop further technology enhancements in support of LyondellBasell's intermediate and derivatives business," said Massimo Covezzi, senior vice president of research and development (R&D) for LyondellBasell.
"Having a research center for our intermediates business on the US Gulf Coast in proximity to our manufacturing, commercial and engineering operations creates a critical mass that did not previously exist," added Patrick Quarles, senior vice president of the intermediates and derivatives business. "We have leading technologies in propylene oxide and acetyls, and this action reaffirms our commitment to maintain our industry leadership in these areas."
LyondellBasell noted that it has more than 5,000 patents and patent applications worldwide covering manufacturing processes, products and catalysts.
Other LyondellBasell R&D centers include Cincinnati, Ohio, which focuses on polyolefin product application and development in North America; Frankfurt, Germany, focused on polyethylene and metallocene catalysts; and Ferrara, Italy, focusing on polypropylene and Ziegler-Natta catalysts.