Research and development

In 2021, the ORLEN Group carried out more than 300 development and efficiency improvement projects aimed at maximising performance and generating shareholder value. A key factor in the project development and implementation phase is energy and process efficiency, which is part of our strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from existing refining and petrochemical assets by 20% and from electricity generation by 33% per MWh of produced electricity by 2030, and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

GRI Disclosures:


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  • Goal 12
  • Goal 13


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PKN ORLEN’s major achievements in technology research and development

In 2021, we continued our research work and projects under the ORLEN2030 strategy, implemented on the basis of external partnerships with a range of partners, such as universities and research institutes, in particular: the University of Warsaw, the Warsaw University of Technology including its Branch in Płock, the Gdańsk University of Technology, the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, the Łukasiewicz Network – Industrial Chemistry Research Institute, the Institute of Chemical Processing of Coal, the Institute of Organic Chemistry, and UniCRE, a Czech Institute in the ORLEN Group.

87 projects

involving R&D and innovation were carried out at PKN ORLEN in 2021

The research and projects focused on energy transition, digitisation of production and expansion of the service station network. To improve efficiency of the research projects, in 2021 PKN ORLEN signed an agreement with the National Centre for Research and Development for the implementation of the Joint Project NEON programme in 2022–2027. PKN ORLEN expects to obtain at least 13 innovative technology solutions in connection with this initiative.

PKN ORLEN proceeded with its strategic plans, including the Petrochemicals Development Programme. As part of those efforts, on June 22nd 2021 the Company signed a contract for the construction of the Olefins 3 Complex, the largest petrochemical project executed in Europe in the 21st century, expected to increase the base petrochemicals capacity at the production plant in Płock by over 1 million tonnes (60%). Its products will be sold mainly in Poland, where they are in short supply, and in Central Europe to maximise margins. The key facilities of the Olefins 3 Complex are being constructed under an EPCC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning) contract with Hyundai Engineering Co., Ltd. of Seoul and Técnicas Reunidas S.A. of Madrid. The project is to be implemented by a newly established company ORLEN Olefiny Sp. z o.o.

2021 also saw continuation of the strategic Infrastructure Programme,

which aims to deploy the necessary infrastructure at the Płock production plant for the Petrochemicals Development Programme and other growth projects. Once expanded, the Płock petrochemical complex will be one of the largest and most advanced in Europe, placing PKN ORLEN at the forefront of petrochemical production in Central Europe.

In 2021, PKN ORLEN continued the development and delivery of other growth projects in an optimum and responsible manner. These efforts are aligned with the ORLEN2030 strategy, seeking to maximise efficiency of the refineries, expand the petrochemicals capacity and extend the value chain, and include sustainable development initiatives, such as decarbonisation and biofuel production. To this end, in September 2021, the final investment decision was made to build a HVO unit at the Płock production plant to increase biofuel production. In 2021, work commenced on the construction of a Bottom of the Barrel unit at the refinery in Mažeikiai, Lithuania. Moreover, in 2021, the construction of a visbreaking unit was continued at the Płock production plant, and in November 2021 a state-of-the-art bio propylene glycol (MPG) plant was completed, being the largest facility of this type in Europe.

In 2021, PKN ORLEN strengthened its position on the international fuel market by maximising refinery performance, expanding refining assets and modernising existing units. Construction of the key visbreaker unit was continued to achieve higher crude conversion rates and increase yields of light products. In the visbreaker, vacuum residue, which has so far been used to make heavy fuel oils and bitumen, will be processed into high-margin products: gasoline and diesel oil. Further work was carried out to upgrade the hydrocracker unit. Advancements in catalysts are now making it possible to achieve a significant part of the intended outcome of the first stage of the hydrocracker unit upgrade with a limited capex and limited scope of upgrading activities. An upgrade of the diesel hydrotreater (HON) was completed to increase margins and scale up diesel oil production, and a test run was carried out, confirming the achievement of parameters guaranteed by the licence provider. In 2021, contracts were signed for the MaxEne project. The use of the innovative MaxEne technology will contribute to generating higher margins on fuels and petrochemicals at the Płock production plant. A contract was signed in 2021 for the construction of a TGT unit to treat tail gas from hydrogen sulfide and ammonia conversion processes. The work is to be completed in mid-2024, and once the unit is launched, it will significantly reduce sulfur emissions into the atmosphere, which makes it one of the range of pro-environmental projects implemented by PKN ORLEN.

In accordance with the adopted strategy, efforts were made to reduce carbon emissions from the Group’s existing refining and petrochemical assets by 20% and cut down carbon emissions per megawatt-hour of electricity by 33% by 2030. Work was carried out in 2021 to identify the potential for capture and utilisation of carbon dioxide from the plant in Płock. Another important focus area was analyses of the options for increased utilisation of recycled products in the light of the priorities of the circular economy. Efforts were also undertaken to proactively explore innovative technological solutions. A number of initiatives and meetings with technology companies, Polish universities and business support organisations were organised.

In 2021, the Research and Development Centre (R&D Centre) in Płock was put into service.

It is expected to: provide the infrastructure (which the ORLEN Group is currently lacking) for testing new process solutions (changes to setup, feedstocks, working parameters) prior to their implementation in the production environment and for testing fuel additives; step up (in terms of quantity and time to deploy) the deployment of technical and technology solutions in existing plants; enable building and testing pilot solutions for new technologies and operating sample production units (small-scale plants to obtain product samples); and provide a competitive edge and lessen the Company’s dependence on know-how providers (considering, in particular, the R&D capabilities of the refining and petrochemical sector in Europe).

In 2021, the R&D Centre started work on research and development projects initiated in response to market expectations for new products and growing quality requirements. Between May and September 2021, more than 30 specialist training sessions were carried out and work instructions were prepared for every piece of laboratory apparatus. The transfer of an acquired advanced biofuel component plant and technology to the R&D Centre was completed in 95%. Contracts were signed during the year for five more pilot units to be used to model refining and petrochemical processes. They will enable the analysis of the impact of crude petroleum and oil blends, unusual internally- and externally-sourced feedstocks, including alternative circular economy raw materials, as well as testing and comparisons of catalysts for various processes. Procurement processes were also launched to obtain technical designs for three pilot organic synthesis plants. The R&D Centre was equipped with outdoor research infrastructure: PKN ORLEN’s first-ever offline pilot unit to test innovative hydrogenation catalysts in the terephthalic acid (PTA) production process in Włocławek. The unit enables testing of new formulations in actual production settings. Based on its know-how, PKN ORLEN was able to develop its own, less expensive and more efficient catalysts and shielding beds for other production processes of PKN ORLEN as well.

As part of the efforts to develop innovation tools, the ORLEN Skylight Accelerator was created to support pilot implementations of innovative solutions developed by technology start-ups. Three application rounds took place in 2021, with challenges announced in the following thematic categories: green transformation, Industry 4.0, safe and innovative organisation, efficient and low-carbon energy generation, modern customer and service station of the future, reducing barriers in access to services for customers, digital organisation, water in industrial processes. More than 200 applications were received over three rounds. Four entities were selected in the first qualification round to carry out pilot implementations in the areas of retail and logistics.

The third element of the innovation ecosystem which made its way to the market last year was a corporate venture capital fund (ORLEN VC) with a financial support capacity of PLN 500 million. The strategic objective of the fund is to gain access to new solutions and technologies and to implement them in the ORLEN Group’s business with positive rates of return. ORLEN VC is expected to support technology companies in early-stage growth or expansion.

As part of efforts to reduce the environmental impacts, we continued the development of BIO products: we successfully initiated production of new fuels using the vegetable oil co-hydrogenation technology and completed industrial production tests of E-10 gasoline.

Research was also launched into co-HVO based on UCOs and the production of bio-jet aviation fuels. Steps were taken to introduce a carbon footprint calculation mechanism for all products offered by the ORLEN Group and for the entire company.

Benchmarking studies were consistently carried out to identify areas where the performance of current production assets could be optimised. Projects were continued to digitise the Płock production plant. New projects were implemented and launched to introduce new tools for modelling and forecasting of optimum production process parameters in order to improve product margins. The Digitisation Road Map project was initiated and implemented for the production plant in Płock in order to best identify digitisation areas with a high potential for growth and additional margins.

Cooperation was also established with Krajowa Spółka Cukrowa S.A. The Management Boards of the two companies signed a letter of intent on joint R&D and development activities for the implementation of projects and other initiatives in the area of sustainable development of chemical production. Joint efforts were commenced to select projects and evaluate their business attractiveness.

As regards the digitisation of production processes, in 2021 we completed a project to develop, build and implement dual corrosion sensors forming part of an integrated real-time online corrosion monitoring system for assessing the rate of uniform (general) corrosion and susceptibility to corrosion cracking and hydrogen embrittlement. The project was co-financed with European funds under a programme carried out by the National Centre for Research and Development (INNOCHEM). A prototype for dual corrosion sensor monitoring was developed. It offers a unique capability to quickly evaluate the rate of the corrosion process and to enable an immediate response to changes in corrosion hazard levels. The practical application of this technology will improve process safety, minimise emergencies and lengthen the useful life of industrial plants. The Company has filed a patent application for the concept of dual corrosion sensors with the European Patent Office.

Major achievements of main ORLEN companies in technology research and development

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In 2021, the ORLEN Group companies engaged in R&D activities focused on the development of new and improvement of existing technologies, on new sustainable production solutions to be applied in their operations, and on modifications to their product portfolios.

In 2021, Energa Group companies ran 26 research, development and innovation (R&D&I) projects, totalling approximately PLN 8 million in net expenditure. Furthermore, in August 2021, the Energa Group and PKN ORLEN launched a joint energy storage programme within the ORLEN Group to identify energy storage products and services, create conditions for their marketing, and launch their sale.

In September 2021, Energa OZE SA completed its NEDO project aimed at acquiring expertise on the feasibility of using energy storage technologies to improve the operational flexibility of the Polish Power System. The project involved the construction of a hybrid battery energy storage facility at the Bystra wind farm near Gdańsk. In 2021, the facility was connected to the Bystra wind farm and placed in service.

The RSOC project co-funded by the National Centre for Research and Development and implemented by the Faraday Research and Development Centre entered its final year. It involves the construction of a modular unit of hydrogen-generating reversible solid oxide cells. This installation has a potential to become a key element of energy storage systems using excess energy, in particular from renewable sources of unstable nature (such as wind and solar energy).

The objective of the EUniversal project carried out by Energa Operator S.A. is to develop network flexibility and the potential to use flexibility services in the energy market. The project is being implemented as part of an EU consortium consisting of 18 energy sector entities, and its research and innovation activities are co-financed from the EU Horizon 2020 programme. It is designed to enable changes to be made in the consumption or generation of energy, including that generated from renewable sources, in order to eliminate risks to the operation of power infrastructure.

Another milestone was achieved in the OneNet project, once testing of flexibility services in energy supplies with the use of a digital platform was successfully completed. This project is implemented by a European consortium and co-financed under the Horizon 2020 programme. Its goals are to develop new business mechanisms and models for new network services that will enhance the flexibility of transmission and HV, MV and LV distribution networks, design a new open-standard platform for the purchase and sale of network services for DSOs and TSOs by market participants, build a demonstration area for testing (e.g. customer acquisition, integration and expansion of IT systems), and explore the potential for using network services to improve network efficiency and flexibility. The project is progressing on schedule, and its completion is expected in September 2023.

Energa Operator S.A. continued the SORAL project to implement a technical condition and failure risk assessment system for MV power lines based on offline diagnostic testing. As a result of research and development work carried out in the project, a system was created for the assessment of failure risk of MV power lines based on technical, operating and diagnostic data. In 2021, a prototype of the SORAL IT system was developed, which features a line health index allowing for a realistic evaluation of the risk of failure on a given line section. The project was implemented on schedule and was completed on December 15th 2021.

The goals of the SERENE project are to develop business mechanisms and models for new network services improving the flexibility of the MV and LV distribution networks and to apply technologies for active management of the LV network using AMI meters. In 2021, an awareness campaign on the project activities was prepared, first personal data consents were obtained from residents, and AMI meters were replaced in the demonstration areas identified in the project concept, all in order to prepare for research activities. The research is scheduled to start in May 2022. The project is progressing on schedule, and its completion is expected on June 30th 2025.

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In 2021, the R&D activities of the ORLEN Unipetrol Group focused on its key pillars, that is green hydrogen, chemical and mechanical recycling of plastics, biofuel production, decarbonisation and digitisation, which significantly contribute to the company’s successful development under the 2030 strategy and are important in the light of growing demand for low-carbon technologies. The estimated total economic contribution of R&D until 2030 is EUR 160 million. The achievement of carbon neutrality for a sustainable future remains the company’s long-term objective. The value of research infrastructure of the two institutions, ORLEN UniCRE and Polymer Institute Brno, exceeds EUR 45m. Together, they employ 127 scientists.

ORLEN UniCRE developed expertise in advanced biofuel production technologies, including the analysis of availability of raw materials, with a particular focus on biomass and municipal waste. In a collaborative effort across the ORLEN Group, research on chemical recycling was developed to obtain a material and subsequently feedstock suitable for processing in the ethylene unit. The cooperation in chemical recycling research will continue, with the focus on using the available technologies. The goal is to build a plastic waste pyrolysis unit in the Czech Republic. As a result of the activities completed in the area of chemical recycling to date, a pilot plastic waste processing unit was launched and tested, which is going to provide material for further research into manufacturing processes.

In 2021, ORLEN Unipetrol obtained the ISCC Plus certification for hydrogenated vegetable oil processing in the ethylene unit, a milestone that now enables the production of bioplastics. The certification involved two in-service tests, of which the second one has made it possible to produce bioplastics and offer them to customers.

The ORLEN Unipetrol Group continues the development of hydrogen technologies. Green hydrogen is a viable alternative to conventional fuels in the context of carbon-free economy of the future. In 2021, the construction of two ORLEN BENZINA hydrogen refuelling stations started in Prague and Litvínov, which are to be operational from 2022. With respect to captive hydrogen production, a feasibility study was completed for the construction of a 60 MW solar PV plant with a 26 MW electrolysis unit, which is expected to produce approximately 4,800 tonnes of green hydrogen annually. The basic design and engineering work package will be implemented in 2022.

The Polymer Institute Brno (PIB) continues to focus on developing a portfolio of advanced polymer, polyethylene and polypropylene products. PIB additionally deals with legal requirements to eliminate certain substances from the manufacture of plastics, such as phthalate and fluorene catalysts, in an effort to guarantee stable product sales. Mechanical recycling of plastics and its application at ORLEN Unipetrol is another important area, as chemical and mechanical recycling is an essential tool to achieve the objectives of circular economy.

In 2021, the construction of a new dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) unit with a capacity of 22,400 tonnes per year was continued. DCPD is used in the production of hydrocarbon resins (colour asphalt, reinforcing paints), unsaturated polyester resins (boat components, sanitary products), ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) elastomers (car buffers, roof coverings) and cyclic olefin copolymers (COC) (transparent materials). At the same time, research was ongoing on the feasibility of producing DCPD (dicyclopentadiene) derivatives to expand the product chain.

As part of its development activities, ORLEN Unipetrol is looking for ways to improve energy efficiency by focusing on heat recovery technologies that have the potential to significantly contribute to the achievement of progressive CO2 emission reduction targets.

Implementation of the assumed objectives is to be supported by the ongoing digital transformation process, in which ORLEN Unipetrol is focusing on augmented and virtual reality, digital twins and smart maintenance. Application of those technologies in production processes will drive cost savings and the high flexibility needed to succeed.

The ORLEN Unipetrol Group continues to focus on supporting education, including higher education, intensifying its cooperation with universities and scientific institutions, some of them abroad. In 2021, cooperation was established with the Technical University of Košice. The second 4EDU conference dedicated to the development of education in the Czech Republic was a huge success.


In 2021, the ORLEN Lietuva Group continued the preparatory phase for a project involving the development of a new hydrocracking unit. In the middle of the year, a letter of intent was signed with the Government of the Republic of Lithuania concerning state institutions’ support in the implementation of this project. An EPC contractor was selected in a tendering procedure and the EPC contract was signed in October 2021. The project is scheduled for completion at the end of 2024. After the contract with the contractor was signed, an agreement was concluded with Mammoet for the transport of the plant reactor from the port in Klaipėda to the refinery in Juodeikiai and for the construction of a new electrical substation for the hydrocracking unit. The new unit will increase the yields of high-margin light products by approximately 8%, significantly improving the profitability of ORLEN Lietuva and enabling the development of renewable energy projects envisaged in the ORLEN2030 strategy and aimed at achieving carbon neutrality.

In 2021, front-end engineering design was completed for an alkylation unit, the scope of work was identified and a contract notice was published for general contractor services. The end of the contract award procedure and selection of the contractor are scheduled for mid-2022.

An upgrade of the control system of T-1 and T-2 turbines at POHO (a CHP plant owned by ORLEN Lietuva) was completed and the system was placed in service in late 2021. The system adds more flexibility in the management of the CHP plant and enables a faster response to changes in the operations of the refinery. In the VGO HDT complex, a catalyst was replaced and new internal apparatus was installed to protect the catalyst from contamination and mechanical damage and to extend its useful life.

A decarbonisation study was conducted, which served as the basis for the identification of the business and growth focus of ORLEN Lietuva with a view to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Preparations were also ongoing for a general overhaul scheduled for the first half of 2022.

ANWIL S.A. made further progress on development work to increase its annual output of fertilizers from 1 million tonnes to a target of approximately 1.5 million tonnes. In 2021, the project saw continued construction work on three key units of the complex, i.e. the nitric acid, neutralisation, and granulation units, and reached a completion status of more than 80%. Expansion of the mineral fertilizers segment was prompted by growing demand for these products. Tests of production of fertilizers with aluminium and potassium sulfates, intended to improve the physical and chemical properties of the Canwil fertilizer granules, were successfully completed. The addition of potassium improves the quantity and quality of yields. As an additional effect, the performance and stability of the process parameters of the mechanical granulation unit were improved.

In 2021, ANWIL S.A. carried out pre-project activities to expand the production capacity for PVC to 420,000 tonnes per year, as part of the ORLEN Group’s strategic Petrochemicals Development Programme.

In cooperation with PKN ORLEN, pre-project activities to construct a hydrogen hub at ANWIL S.A. were continued and the project contract was signed in August to enable the ORLEN Group to enter the zero-carbon fuels market in Poland and develop a new product: automotive hydrogen fuels.

In 2021, in an effort to increase ammonia production, a key upgrade project (TC 1201B process air node) was completed, allowing for unit loads of up to 110%, an upgrade project to improve energy efficiency (F 1606/7 demisters) was completed, and a new E 2215-1B process air cooler was built at the nitric acid plant. The construction of the F 2901B nitric acid storage tank was also finished, which will enable nitric acid to be transferred from the new plant to the existing processing units, thus optimising the cost of fertilizer production. Upgrades were made in the plastics business to improve energy efficiency (such as the construction of a new exchanger for brine heating) and product efficiency (construction of fittings to increase PVC S-70 production capacity).

In 2021, as part of 120+ AMMONIA, a strategic project for the Group (after signing of contracts with contractors: CASALE, KBR and HT – ANWIL S.A.), ANWIL timely secured all three feasibility studies covering five scenarios for the contemplated project: from upgrades of the existing units, to the construction of a new ammonia plant, to an option where ammonia is co-produced with methanol. Work was continued in cooperation with the Warsaw University of Technology and a commercial partner to develop a new innovative catalyst and solutions to improve the productivity and energy efficiency of ammonia synthesis. In order to implement the green ammonia technology, ammonia-based energy storage technology and short-term hydrogen storage technologies at ANWIL S.A., the Company joined a consortium established under the HySTrAm project, which was granted funding under Horizon Europe. To acquire knowledge about the available green hydrogen production technologies and identify a concept for use of this stream in production processes, ANWIL S.A. initiated a study concerning the integration of modern hydrogen technologies.

In an effort to develop innovation tools, cooperation was established with two accelerators: Industry Lab II and MIT Enterprise Forum Central & Eastern Europe. As a result, the Precision Fertilisation Map, co-financed from EU funds, was developed, and the first acceleration round was carried out, which included the preparation of a pilot implementation plan for a logistics process automation solution offered by a start-up. In the area of fertilizer development, the Laboratory for Research on Physical Properties of Fertilizers was opened with the intention to develop guidelines for technologies, procedures, manufacturing instructions, seasoning, trade and product storage. Work was also continued under a research project into modified nitrate fertilizers carried out in partnership with ADOBE and IUNG, in order to develop four new fertilizer formulas to improve nitrogen use efficiency in plants.

In the area of plastics development, the construction of a pilot unit for brine sludge carbonisation started, which is expected to enable the development of new products based on brine sludge, reducing the costs of waste disposal. Research into a hydrochloric acid concentrating method (in the VICARB unit) was successfully completed, offering the possibility of obtaining a new product: hydrochloric acid 32%.
Research was also carried out into the production of flame-retardant hard granules of specific flame retardant levels, including a search for alternatives to antimony trioxide, migration of plasticiser from plasticised PVC applications and bacteria- and fungus-resistant PVC-based formulations.

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The ORLEN Południe Group completed the construction of a bio propylene glycol plant. In the fourth quarter of 2021, start-up tests were carried out in the glycol production complex, which includes a propylene glycol unit, a glycerine purification unit and a hydrogen production unit. The start-up tests were completed with a positive result, attesting to the efficiency and quality of the finished product (1,2-propylene glycol) and thus validating the licence acquired from AirLiquide in 2017. The plant was placed in service. Work was carried out in the complex to build a unit for the purification of hydrogen to 5.0 grade for automotive applications. Mechanical and process start-up of the PSA+ unit was initiated.

Activities relating to advanced biofuels included further work on a project to construct a unit for the production of biodiesel from used cooking oil with an annual capacity of 30,000 tonnes. A PC contract was executed with AB Industry for the construction of the unit. An agreement for the deliveries of proprietary equipment was signed with the licence provider. A final building permit was obtained and earthworks were started. As part of work relating to the existing fatty acid methyl ester unit, procedures were also initiated to purchase a licence and front-end engineering design for its further expansion (the second phase to increase the capacity by additional 100,000 tonnes per year through the construction of a new unit). To extend the value chain in the production of fatty acid methyl esters, the project to construct the company’s own rapeseed oil press plant was continued. Land was acquired for the construction of a press plant with an annual capacity of 200,000 tonnes, with an optional extension to 300,000 tonnes, and an award procedure was opened for an EPC contract. Further progress was achieved in the 2G bioethanol project. A procurement process was carried out for an EPC contract to build a 2G bioethanol unit with power generation capacities, a biogas plant and wastewater treatment plant. The project was approved by the Investment Committee and the Group’s Strategy Committee. An agreement was signed with PKN ORLEN, providing for the construction of an advanced industrial 2G bioethanol unit and defining the project financing. The project to build a new biogas business line at ORLEN Południe was continued. 100% interests were acquired in two further biogas plants, CHP Energia Sp. z o.o. and Bioutil Sp. z o.o., in M&A transactions. The existing biogas plants of ORLEN Południe streamlined their production and organisational processes and set on a path toward expansion (capacity increases and plant upgrades to transform them into biomethane plants). Further work was underway on a project to develop a treatment technology for glycerine derived from UCOs and animal fats. The spatial and functional concept plan, project cost summary and terms of reference were drawn up. A procurement procedure was initiated to select an EPC contractor for the glycerol purification unit. A Project Information Sheet was prepared in order to obtain an environmental permit. A project for the development of biotechnology-based conversion of organic raw materials into lactic acid using microorganisms was carried out, with co-financing under the INNOCHEM programme. Components of a pilot lactic acid line were delivered and received, and work began to connect the pilot line to utilities and to start up the plant.

Collaborative efforts with the Polish Academy of Sciences were also continued to develop a production technology for polyhydroxybutyrate biopolymer (PHB), where a fermentation technology was designed for the selected strain. As part of a project to obtain de-icing fluid produced with bio-based propylene glycol, work was ongoing under an agreement signed with the Institute of Heavy Organic Synthesis in Kędzierzyn Koźle for the development of de-icing and anti-icing fluids. Formulations were developed for type 1, 3 and 4de-icing fluids, and work is under way to optimise the fluid formulations in terms of cost-efficient additives and prepare for the certification of fluids. An agreement was signed with the AGH University of Science and Technology for the development of a technology for the recovery of metals from spent catalysts.

ORLEN OIL continued research work to implement new and modify existing products and to define new directions for the development of lubricant technologies. A number of measures were taken with a view to continuously improving the quality of oils in response to current demand reported by the sales division. Key research expenditure was incurred within the company’s strategic segments, in particular the segment of motor oils for passenger cars, and of universal and speciality industrial oils. In 2021, technologies were developed and implemented for 61 new products, including 10 premium technologies, 6 value-for-money technologies, 2 economy technologies, 6 auto transmission technologies, 4 truck engine technologies, 1 agricultural technology, 4 generic industrial technology, 8 specialty industrial technologies, 5 lubricant technologies, 11 service fluid technologies, 3 car care products and chemicals technologies, and 1 other technology. 60 approvals were obtained for ORLEN OIL’s products from manufacturers of machinery, equipment and engines. Cooperation was established with Energa OZE to obtain approval for oil for wind turbines operated by that company.

A product unification project was implemented with Paramo. Also, collaborative partnerships were maintained with research and scientific institutions, as well as Polish and international standardisation, certification and opinion-making institutions that influence the development directions for lubricants.

Research was completed into the development of a new HFA-E concentrate production technology conforming to PN-EN ISO 12922:2020-08 for underground mining applications. A project co-financed by the NCRD was launched to improve the operational characteristics of industrial lubricants with the use of nanoadditives under the Smart Growth Operational Programme 2014–2020. The project is being implemented in a consortium with the Łukasiewicz Research Network – the Blachownia Institute of Heavy Organic Synthesis. At the work stage executed in 2021, ORLEN Oil was responsible for developing a nanoadditive as a preservative for cooling lubricants.

Two out of the six steps of this stage were completed. The project will be finalised by the end of 2023. Potentially biocidal silver nanoparticles were synthesised and introduced into oil base. Subsequently, copper nanoparticles were synthesised. At a later stage, ORLEN OIL will work on metal oxide nanoparticles and core-shell structures.

ORLEN Asfalt launched a number of research programmes aligned with the ORLEN2030 Strategic Research Agenda, which concern environmentally-friendly asphalt technologies, including low-carbon asphalts, highly modified asphalt (HiMA) road surfaces reducing traffic noise, specialty recycled asphalts for mixes, and asphalts reducing air pollution emissions from cars. An application was submitted in the EU LIFE programme for modification of asphalts with natural polymers.

ORBITON HiMA-WMA, a new type of highly modified asphalt, was developed and tested for use on roads in harsh weather conditions in autumn and winter.

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