Shell today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CNOOC Oil & Petrochemicals Co Ltd (CNOOC) to explore its first commercial-scale polycarbonate (PC) production unit, which would be located at the CNOOC and Shell Petrochemical Company (CSPC) joint-venture chemicals complex in Huizhou, China.
As an interim step, Shell has started constructing a PC development unit at its Jurong Island chemicals plant in Singapore.
An expanded and differentiated product range is a key part of Shell’s growth strategy for its chemicals business. PC is a transparent and impact-resistant engineering polymer, and is used to make vehicle headlights, LED spotlights, UV-blocking windows and spectacles.
“This is an example of our customer-led growth strategy in action,” said Thomas Casparie, Executive Vice President of Shell’s global chemicals business, “we have an advantaged route to production and are looking at investment in a number of commercial-scale units to serve the growing number of polycarbonate customers.”
The platform for this new product entry is Shell’s own patented diphenyl carbonate (DPC) process technology. Shell has developed this over recent years to achieve significant advantages in cost, safety, efficiency and CO2 footprint. Shell will now combine its DPC technology with melt-phase PC technology licensed from EPC Engineering & Technology GmbH in Germany.
Shell’s PC production units will also produce alkyl carbonates. These are used for lithium ion batteries which support the energy transition.