Borealis starts expansion of its Innovation Centre in Linz – Upper Austria to become a centre of international plastics research
Borealis, a leading provider of innovative, value creating plastics solutions, has begun expansion of its Innovation Centre located at the Chemiepark in Linz. This development project kicks off with the dismantling of an older building which will serve as the site of a newly planned facility. The project, which begun on November 6, 2006, reflects the company's decision to develop the Linz based centre as the hub of its international research activities. Over the next five years, Borealis will invest EUR 25 – 30 million in the Innovation Centre.
New olefin research lab
In the first wave of investment, Borealis will allocate EUR 8 million towards the construction of a new polyolefin research laboratory and a separate olefin research lab with state-of-the-art analytical equipment. Keeping in line with this investment, Borealis' 200-person research team at the Innovation centre in Linz has already grown with the addition of 15 new colleagues and is expected to increase by 80 new employees in total. The new EUR 5.5 million polyolefin research lab is slated for completion in summer 2008 and will house state-of-the-art testing facilities. In this polymerisation lab – the only one of its kind in Austria - new polypropylene (PP) grades will be developed and brought to commercial scale.
Wim Roels, Borealis Vice President of Innovation & Technology, commented: "By using state-of-the-art test reactors, we can reduce the time needed to develop innovative PP grades and facilitate the transformation of our findings to industrial scale. It allows us to adapt the molecular structure of our plastics according to diverse needs. As such, we can offer even quicker and more flexible and intelligent solutions according to our customers' needs."
The new EUR 1.5 million olefin research lab will be operative by mid-2007. A specialised, highly skilled research team will work on technologies for the production of olefins. Olefins are obtained from oil distillates or from specific gas fractions and are the raw material for the production of polyethylene and polypropylene. The main aim of the research is to enhance the recovery and efficiency factor in the production process of olefins – an important area of research that will contribute to the efficient use of resources. The expansion of the Innovation Centre in Linz is part of a comprehensive agreement between Borealis and the that includes a collection of measures and commitments and will result in strengthening Upper Austria as an internationally competitive plastics industry research hub. The Upper Austria government will contribute EUR 18.7 million to a number of infrastructure changes to internationalise and expand the international research capacity in Upper Austria by 2011. Borealis intends to enhance its cooperation in future research projects with JKU, the Wels Advanced Technical College, and other Austrian universities and research institutes. Borealis is currently engaged in research partnerships with the and the to develop new material testing methods and software systems.