Engineering Hungary: MOL begins construction of new rubber bitumen plant
With a production capacity of 20,000 tonnes per year, the new plant is expected to commence as a brownfield investment and will be situated in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary. The produced rubber bitumen will be used to build more durable asphalt roads with higher load capacity and less maintenance costs.
The foundation stone of the new rubber bitumen plant has been laid in Zalaegerszeg, Western Hungary in the Zala Refinery area. About 75 % of the 10.3 million dollar (HUF 3 billion) investment is provided by MOL from its own resources, and 25 % is financed through the Hungarian Government’s Enterprise Investment Support Programme.
Hungary’s Minister of Finance Mihály Varga, Zalaegerszeg Mayor Zoltán Balaicz and MOL Chairman-CEO Zsolt Hernádi laid the foundation stone of the new rubber bitumen plant in Zalaegerszeg.
The rubber bitumen plant is expected to start production next year, with the capacity of 20,000 tonnes per year. MOL’s rubber bitumen can be used to build more durable asphalt roads with higher load capacity and less maintenance costs. The durability is well illustrated by the fact that there is no pothole on any of the roads made with rubber bitumen, although the oldest experimental roadway is 15 years old.
The rubber bitumen, which is produced using environmentally friendly technology, will be used primarily in the domestic market for road construction. The patented technology is the result of collaboration between MOL and Pannon University.
The new 10.3 million dollar plant uses 3,000 tonnes of crumb rubber annually to produce rubber bitumen, which contributes to the recycling of about half a million used tires. This amount is 8-10 per cent of the annual domestic tire waste. The annual production of 20,000 tonnes of rubber bitumen will enable the construction of a 200 km 2x1 lane road, or the renovation of the upper layer of a 600 km 2x1 lane road.
“The Hungarian Government grants HUF 750 million support to MOL within the framework of the Enterprise Investment Support Programme. The construction of MOL Group’s new plant contributes to better quality roads in Hungary.” said Mihály Varga, Minister of Finance at the foundation stone-laying ceremony.
“In our 2030 strategy we have a strong focus on the production of environmentally friendly, small-scale, innovative goods. We are eager to lead change: we are the only company in the CEE region that has a proprietary patent to the rubber bitumen technology. According to the calculations the cost of maintaining a road made from rubber bitumen can be lowered by 30 % during its 30-year lifecycle.
This cost-reduction will stimulate the widespread use of rubber bitumen in the national economy. So, in addition to helping the environment with the eco- friendly solution, we are playing our part in creating quieter and pothole-free roads in Hungary,” said Zsolt Hernádi, MOL Group Chairman and CEO.
In the Zala region, MOL has been producing hydrocarbons for over 80 years and has been refining for over 65 years. The Zala Refinery, a 5,000-tonne capacity rubber bitumen plant was launched in 2012 and the new plant will be built to respond to increased demand. The new plant will contribute to the efficient operation of the Zala Refinery and will secure refinery jobs for some 100 workers.
In the past six years, 60 km of road has been built or renewed in Hungary using rubber bitumen, which means the utilisation of rubber grist from some 150,000 used car tires.
This article was first published by spotlightmetal.com.