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ORLEN Group 2016 Integrated Report

II nagroda specjalna w kategorii Raport Zintegrowany | Najlepszy raport on-line

Research and development


PKN ORLEN, Poland’s largest enterprise with a global presence, has engaged in innovative projects and analysed processes on the lookout for potential growth opportunities. The development of an R&D portfolio and various innovations are included in the new ORLEN Group strategy for 2017-2021 and they are one of the key value creation elements of the People – Innovations strategy.

As part of the research projects implemented, PKN ORLEN performed work related to the recovery of terephthalic acid from technological waste. Additionally, an industrial evaluation was performed aimed at assessing the impact of processing naphtha from the hydrocracking plant at the Reforming installation in order to improve the yield from the Aromatics Unit.

A research project was initiated entitled “Methodology of forecasting and monitoring of the quality of gasoline intended for long-term storage in salt caverns. Technology of production of base gasoline and of finished motor gasoline as an element of counteracting the disturbances in the raw material and product economy”, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the INNOCHEM Program.

PKN ORLEN was the first Polish company to launch, in 2015, a crowdsourcing project addressed to ward the global community. In collaboration with NineSigma, the owner of the NineSights platform, the Company was looking for an idea to effectively utilise the low-temperature heat produced during the first stage of crude oil processing which is irretrievably lost to the atmosphere. In 2016, the contest ended, and the following teams were invited to proceed with further collaboration: the Polish company PWPO-T PROMONT, as the leader of a Polish-Swedish consortium specializing in chemical engineering, Guha Industries, an Indian engineering design company, as well as a German research centre ILK Dresden.

The project in the area of advanced biofuels was continued, this project was related to the development of alternative sources of obtaining next-generation biocomponents, implemented in collaboration with the Warmian-Masurian University in Olsztyn and with the University of Szczecin.

PKN ORLEN launched an online platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing with regard to new technological solutions, called “Innovations, Startups”. This state-of-the-art communication tool used by the most innovative companies is supposed to facilitate contacts with regard to innovation as well as provide win-win solutions. The new site, available at, is intended mainly for startups and innovators. The ‘Innovations, Start-ups’ project involves different forms of cooperation with innovators. One of them is Innowacje@orlen, an application that can be used to register a proposed innovative solution for any of the key areas of PKN ORLEN’s operations, including Production, Power Generation, or Marketing and Sales. The ‘Accelerator’ and ‘Crowdsourcing’ sections provide detailed information on PKN ORLEN’s current programmes addressed to inventors, academics and businesses and creating opportunities to present innovative solutions and cooperate closely with PKN ORLEN’s top experts in their implementation.

Other examples of PKN ORLEN’s initiatives are networking meetings, such as the one held during the 590 Congress in Rzeszów in November 2016, and workshops administered by PKN ORLEN experts for Polish start-ups at ‘Impact’16’ event in Kraków.

The Unipetrol Group carried out research work focusing on processes related to the production of motor fuels and to the in-depth processing of heavy fractions from crude oil throughput. The search continued for the possibility of using renewable energy sources in the production of motor fuels as well as work related to low-sulphur components of fuels and the production of road bitumen with higher durability and abrasion. Work has continued in relation to the potential utilization of light hydrocarbons obtained in the pyrolysis process, as well as to improve the quality of propylene used to produce polypropylene, optimize its production and introduce new catalytic systems in compliance with REACH.

The ORLEN Lietuva Group continued to implement projects related to the improvement of the energy efficiency of production processes. A series of projects were also implemented related to environmental protection and comprising for instance, the reduction of dust levels from the Fluid Catalytic Crac (FCC) plant, sulphur compounds SO2, nitrogen compounds NOx from the company’s CHP plant as well as a system for monitoring  emissions from the FCC sulphur recovery and hydrogen production plants.

Anwil signed agreements on collaboration with the Institute of New Chemical Syntheses with regard to research work concerning the use of gypsum from flue gas desulfurization for the production of nitrate fertilizers, with the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń to develop a technology for the treatment of sludge from salt brine purification in a chlorine production plant, and with the Institute of Electrical Engineering in Warsaw with regard to the kinetic activation of catalysts used in production processes. Work also continues to implement a technology for the production of nanocomposite modified PVC. External financing was obtained under the INNOCHEM program for the project entitled “Development of a technology for the production of PVC-based ceramisable composites”.

ORLEN Oil conducted research work related to the implementation of new products, qualitative modifications of existing products, processes of obtaining new approvals, utilization of lubricating oils and setting of new directions for the development of lubricant technologies in response to customers’ expectations. In 2016, technologies were developed and implemented for 22 new products in the area of oils for the automotive industry, 13 in the operating fluids group and 10 technologies in industrial oils, while modifications concerned 14 products in the industrial oils, plastic lubricants and automotive segment.

In 2016, the ORLEN Południe Group continued to implement a development project “Conversion of glycerin into 1.2-propylene glycol”. An agreement was signed related to the purchase of the basic design and of the license. Work also continued related to second- and third-generation biofuels. The NEV fraction, constituting a raw material for the PKN ORLEN Catalytic Cracking plant, was implemented into production. An anti-caking agent was developed for artificial fertilizers thanks to co-financing obtained under the INNOCHEM Sectorial Program for the project entitled “Biodegradable anti-caking agents for the artificial fertilizer industry”.

The ORLEN Upstream Group continued to be involved in other scientific and research projects implemented under the “Blue Gas” program. This program is a part of a joint project by the National Centre for Research and Development and Agencja Rozwoju Przemysłu S.A. (Industry Development Agency). It is focused on supporting integrated research and development projects aimed at creating and commercializing production technologies. In 2016, research work was carried out in the Lubień Kujawski license area to confirm the parameters and the suitability of the salt deposit for natural gas storage.

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