Orion Installs Cogeneration Tech at LA Plant


Global specialty chemicals company Orion Engineered Carbons recently announced that it has installed renewable energy technology at its Ivanhoe, Louisiana, plant. According to the release, the plant produces carbon black for the rubber and specialty markets.

Carbon black is used to tint, colorize, provide reinforcement, conduct electricity, increase durability and add UV protection in a variety of products, including tires, coatings, ink plastics and more.

About the Tech

The cogeneration system, including a steam turbine generator, uses waste steam from the carbon black plant’s production process and converts it to electricity. The energy can reportedly be used to power the facility as well as be exported to the local grid.

“The new technology will reduce our reliance on the grid, which should result in less downtime at the plant and more consistent production,” Orion CEO Corning Painter said.

“This is especially important in the Gulf Coast region of the U.S., where severe weather can pose a threat to the power supply. With this cogeneration system, we expect to be better able to continue safely operating and producing the products our customers need.”

The upgrades are anticipated to improve equipment reliability at the plant, as power failure can shut down the plant suddenly. This can cause fatigue and degradation with carbon black production equipment, which requires significant cool-down and warm-up periods.

Orion reports that this is the second significant upgrade at the Ivanhoe plant in the last three years. In late 2021, the company installed air emissions control technology that captures pollutants and converts them to sulfuric acid, commonly used in a wide range of products, from fertilizers and glue to dyes and car batteries.

Similar technology has reportedly been implemented at Orion plants worldwide. The company notes that the project was a major milestone in Orion’s commitment to developing circular solutions for its waste streams.

Texas Plant Installation

Back in February, Orion announced that it is using new control technology at its Borger, Texas, plant to reduce air emissions by 90%. The Borger plant also reportedly produces carbon black for rubber and specialty clients.

According to an emailed release at the time, the $60 million project also involved upgrading the site’s cogeneration system, which takes heat created by the carbon black production process and converts it to electricity that can be used by the plant.

This electricity is then sold back to the power grid. Orion reports that this energy conservation equipment is used by many of its plants worldwide.

The new emissions technology will reportedly eliminate 23 tons of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions per day, leading to a major improvement in air quality.

Additionally, Orion upgraded its emissions control technology at facilities in Ivanhoe, Louisiana, and Orange, Texas. The company anticipates finishing its final U.S. emissions project at its site in Belpre, Ohio, later this year.

The company reports that the upgrade to the Borger plant supports its efforts to achieve the targets in its sustainability-linked term loan, which has interest rates that go up or down depending on whether a company meets specific environmental, social and governance goals.


Tagged categories: Air quality; Asia Pacific; Business management; Business matters; Business operations; Carbon footprint; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Emissions; Energy efficiency; Environmental Controls; Latin America; North America; Orion; Program/Project Management; Sustainability; Technology; Z-Continents

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