R&D and Innovation

R&D and Innovation

We are ready for the future

Facing sustainability challenges on a global scale and our responsibility towards the future direct us to generate new solutions that are resilient to risks and aim for continuous development. At this point, innovation becomes the foremost dynamic triggering industrial growth. Balancing production factors, creating resources, sustaining competition, and, most importantly, investing in technology, innovative projects, R&D, and innovation are our priorities to provide social, environmental, and economic benefits.

Through sustainable investments, innovative technologies, and digital transformation, we are taking strong strides toward becoming one of Europe's premier petrochemical complexes and production hubs. Aligned with the vision of sustainable development and a low-carbon economy, we continually expand our R&D and innovation capabilities to meet the demand for high-value petrochemical products requiring advanced technology in the hydrocarbon sector.

Capacity Increase and Carbon Footprint Reduction Project

We are thoroughly integrating the 5S methodology into our sustainability initiatives. Within this framework, we developed the Capacity Increase and Carbon Footprint Reduction Project through the implementation of 5S in product packaging and storage areas. This project earned us the Silver Award in the 'Successful Team of the Year' category in the competition organized annually by the Turkish Quality Association, Izmir Branch.

Productivity Enhancement Projects

As part of our energy efficiency and conservation efforts, we implemented four productivity-enhancing projects. For these projects, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources provided our company with approximately 900,000 TL in cash grant support in 2022. Additionally, two new productivity-enhancing projects underwent examination by the Ministry in 2022 and received approval for implementation. At Petkim, we anticipate receiving approximately 2.8 million TL in cash grant support for our new projects.

Petkim GCC (Global Carbon Council) Certification Project

Our RES (Wind Energy Plant) project, completed in 2017, consists of 17 wind turbines with a total mechanical capacity of 51 MW. We aim to disseminate the impact of Petkim RES on renewable energy generation and internationally certify the greenhouse gas emission reductions achieved by the project. In line with this goal, we support the activities conducted under the Global Carbon Council (GCC) Voluntary Emission Reduction Certification.

The Determination of Industrial Emission Strategy (DIES) of Türkiye Project

T.C. Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change is conducting efforts to transpose the EU Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive into national legislation. As Petkim, we provided support to the Determination of Türkiye's Industrial Emission Strategy (DIES) Project under the IPPC framework. In the project, we participated as a project partner for the chemical sector in the stages of establishing the IPPC system infrastructure, conducting sectoral compliance analyses, and determining the requirements.

Efficiency Through Digital Transformation

Our mission is to elevate the leading digital application standard within the industry; our aim is to become one of the world's foremost digital companies. Among our strategic priorities is enhancing energy efficiency through digitalization and striving for process perfection. Accordingly, we have formed teams to meet the digital transformation strategy and requirements across all domains. Our teams continue to work through various stages, from idea generation to project design, digital architecture, digital portfolio management, and adaptation needs.

We employ the most current and efficient digital practices across all our business processes, from data management and storage to infrastructure and operations, procurement and supply chain to managing field operations, financial operations to customer relationships.

We reduce operational burdens through Robotic Process Automation (RPA). By applying the Design Thinking methodology within our digital ecosystem development efforts and employing advanced analytical modeling enhancements, we contribute to the optimization of our production processes.

With our achieved world-standard levels through our digital applications and our robust sustainability vision, we are poised for the future. In January 2020, we stood as the sole company selected from Türkiye for the World Economic Forum's (WEF) 'Global Lighthouse Network.' This recognition, within a platform that identifies the best implementers of Industry 4.0 standards in production facilities, fills us with pride as it has bestowed upon us the esteemed title of 'Factory of the Future.

We support an integrated working model with 11 projects of varying scales, including the Information Technology Integration Project 'Project Earth,' preparing the infrastructure necessary to unify our operations into a single system and operate common processes. This enables end-to-end tracking of procurement processes and consolidation under a single report.

Petkim's extensive R&D experience breathes life into sustainable projects at SOCAR Türkiye R&D

Our over 50 years of R&D experience sheds light on the future with technologies designed under the umbrella of SOCAR Türkiye. Ongoing efforts at SOCAR Türkiye R&D aim to develop innovative, sustainable, efficient, environmentally friendly, and market-focused products and catalysts for all our stakeholders. Key areas of activity include sustainability, energy transition, circular economy, process optimization, development of new products and application areas, and digital transformation.

SOCAR Türkiye R&D draws strength from collaborative energy and implements university-industry partnerships through an open innovation model. Additionally, it contributes to global sustainable development by participating in nationally and internationally supported projects. Currently, SOCAR Türkiye R&D participates as a partner in four European Union projects in the Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe Programs in the areas of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS), sustainable production with artificial intelligence, and alternative energy sources. Additionally, it serves as a board member in two projects. Some of these initiatives continue to be implemented at Petkim's factories.


CARMOF: New process for efficient CO2 capture by innovative adsorbents based on modified carbon nanotubes and MOF materials

Project summary

CARMOF aims to capture carbon dioxide from flue gas streams using innovative materials and methods. Metal-organic frameworks (MOF) and carbon nanotubes (CNT) are the primary constituents of the innovative capture system machined with the advantages of 3-D printing technologies. The process includes developing, optimizing, and scaling up vacuum and temperature swing adsorption technologies. The project may help prevent carbon dioxide, the primary contributor to the greenhouse effect, from reaching the atmosphere more efficiently

CO2Fokus: CO2 utilisation in market relevant dimethyl ether production, via 3D printed reactor and solid oxide cell based technologies.

Project summary

CO2Fokus, an H2020-backed project, aims to develop technologies to convert the carbon dioxide in flue gas streams to dimethyl ether (DME), a diesel alternative with less emission. 3-D printers machine the catalysts and the reactors of the demo unit. The project targets the pilot-scale validation of one-pot synthesis of DME, instead of conventional two-step conversion from carbon dioxide. CO2Fokus may improve the level of carbon dioxide utilization towards alternative fuels.

Catalyst and process development for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production using carbon dioxide and hydrogen
Project summary

As a collaboration between a Turkish university and SOCAR Türkiye R&D, this project aims to develop a catalyst and reactor for the one-step carbon dioxide and hydrogen conversion into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Conventionally, the reaction takes place in two consecutive steps, and it is possible to develop a proper catalyst and a reactor to make this possible in one step with higher SAF selectivity. The project may help reach better energy efficiency and improve the process economics.

Catalyst development for dimethyl ether synthesis using carbon dioxide and hydrogen
Project summary

As a collaboration between a Turkish university and SOCAR Türkiye R&D, this project aims to convert the carbon dioxide in the flue gas to a low-emission diesel alternative, dimethyl ether (DME), via the development and performance validation of new catalyst formulations. After extensive literature research on candidate materials, a short list based on sustainability criteria appears and is prepared in the lab. This project may help more efficient and environmentally friendly conversion towards an alternative, low-emission fuel.

Biogas production from waste disposals and its utilization into the value-added products and/or energy
Project summary

As a collaboration between a Turkish university, local authorities, and SOCAR Türkiye R&D, this project aims to measure the biomass potential of the Aegean region. The valuation potentials of forestry, domestic, and other waste are determined by measuring the contents, types, and usable amounts. The biomass potential is realized by analyzing the collected data, focusing on the economic feasibility and life cycle assessment. This project may help the industry decide which sustainable raw materials and products should be targeted.

NEFERTITI: Innovative photocatalysts integrated in flow photoreactor systems for direct CO2 and H2O conversion into solar fuels

Project summary

NEFERTITI focuses on utilizing artificial photosynthesis technology to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) into synthesis gas and subsequently into higher alcohols such as ethanol (C2H5OH) or isopropanol (C3H8O) through two-step catalytic reactions. It prioritizes solar energy over fossil fuels to drive the catalytic reactions. The project works on promising technologies for the first continuous operation of the entire system, where dye-sensitized solar cells and solar concentration systems are used to energize the system.

Production of sustainable bioplastics from agricultural-food waste (BIOLINK)
Project summary

Funded by the TÜBİTAK 1509 -International Industrial R&D Projects Support Office, BIOLINK aims to develop innovative materials for a Spanish-based fruit packaging company. It produces the raw materials of bio-based, bio-degradable plastics with innovative synthesis methods and validates them. This project may help create fully recyclable food packaging materials soon.

Low-temperature pyrolysis of methane: Production of hydrogen and usable carbon
Project summary

As a collaboration between a Turkish university and SOCAR Türkiye R&D, this project aims to design and operate a lab-scale reactor system for the plasma pyrolysis of methane into hydrogen and carbon black. It aims to tune the process economics higher via the production of carbon nanotubes (CNT), nanodiamonds, and graphite by adjusting the reaction parameters and the integration of renewables. This project may help Azerbaijan utilize its natural gas resources economically and environmentally better.

Solar energy storage in chemical bonds
Project summary

As a collaboration between a Turkish university and SOCAR Türkiye R&D, this project simultaneously aims to separate nitrogen from air and produce synthesis gas from natural gas via the chemical looping scheme. It investigates a wide range of materials to be a suitable oxygen source in the lab and from the literature and utilizes concentrated solar energy as the heat source. This project may help produce the building blocks of the chemical industry, ammonia, and synthesis gas more sustainably and efficiently.

Electrocatalytic hydrogenation for the production of value-added chemicals
Project summary

As a collaboration between a Turkish university and SOCAR Türkiye R&D, this project aims to produce ethanol and isopropanol from acetylene and acetone, an unwanted side product of the naphtha cracking reaction. The production of both species requires high energy input, yet it is possible to run the same reactions at room conditions using electrochemistry principles. This project may enable the design of sustainable processes supported by renewables for converting unwanted products into valuable raw materials.

Novel anode development with the electrocatalysts with bipolar membrane for hydrogen (H2) production
Project summary

As a collaboration between a Turkish university and SOCAR Türkiye R&D, this project aims to increase the chemical stability of anode electrodes of PEM electrolyzers used to produce green hydrogen. The harmful effects of the oxygen evolution reaction usually damage the anode electrodes and decrease the cell's life time. To tackle this problem, the project develops novel anode materials and test their durability. This project may contribute to a more sustainable, efficient, and environmentally friendly production of green hydrogen in PEM fuel cells.

Performance screening of multi-layered polyelectrolyte membranes for the separation of neutral organic molecules from salts in aqueous solutions
Project summary

As a collaboration between a Turkish university and SOCAR Türkiye R&D, this project aims to recover value-added products in the wastewater streams of the petrochemicals and refining facilities via membrane technologies. The targeted waste streams usually consist of salts in high concentration, and the composite polyamide and multi-layered polyelectrolyte membranes sweep the valuable products in them. In addition, the project aims to create product-specific membrane formulations and apply them to waste streams to validate their separation performance. This project may be economically viable and environmentally friendly by improving the product recovery rates.

Direct algae-to-biofuels: Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production from microalgae in growth medium without harvesting and dewatering
Project summary

As a collaboration between the industry and SOCAR Türkiye R&D, this project aims to pioneer providing sustainable solutions for environmentally friendly fuel production. The focus is developing an innovative reactor and process for directly producing sustainable jet fuel using solid catalysts derived from microalgae in the growth medium without harvesting, drying, and at low temperatures and pressure. Furthermore, it aims to cultivate the microalgae using refinery flue gas. This project may help decarbonize SAF production even more via process intensification.

4D Hydrogen: Green ammonia production with 4D (Decentralization, Decarbonization, Derivation and Digitalization) hydrogen

Project summary

Funded by the TÜBİTAK 1509 -International Industrial R&D Projects Support Office, 4D HYDROGEN aims to produce green hydrogen to be used as raw material for green ammonia. It designs, operates, and validates a pilot scale system with a water electrolyzer energized by solar power. This project may help improve green ammonia production's operational and economic bottlenecks.

Circular TwAIn: Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform for integrated sustainable and circular manufacturing

Project summary

Circular TwAIn, an H2020-backed project, aims to improve the process and energy efficiency of the chemical industry via artificial intelligence applications. Targeting an actual production facility, it monitors the parameters related to the energy consumption production metrics, evaluates them in terms of efficiency, economic feasibility, and environmental effects, and offers actions benefitting all of the criteria above. The digital twin understands the boundaries of the physical systems and optimizes the operating conditions using both retrospective data and training models. This project may help big industries discover energy and resource-related opportunities that are less costly.

Sustaining our deep-rooted R&D culture under the umbrella of SOCAR Türkiye, the SOCAR Türkiye R&D and Innovation Center continues to engage in projects that shape the future. At Petkim, we take pride in contributing to the implementation of these ongoing projects within our factories. Together with SOCAR Türkiye R&D, we will continue to develop pioneering applications that contribute to a sustainable future.