MOL funds new US$10m rubber-bitumen plant in Hungary

Hungarian energy and chemicals company MOL is set to invest about US$10.3 million in the construction of new rubber-bitumen plant situated in Zalaegerszeg, western Hungary. The new plant is expected to start production next year, with a capacity of 20kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) of rubber-bitumen,which will enable the construction of a 200km 2×1 lane road, or the renovation of the upper layer of a 600km 2×1 lane road.The rubber-bitumen produced using environmentally-friendly technology is the result of collaboration between MOL and Pannon University, and can be used to build more durable asphalt roads with higher load capacity and low maintenance costs.

About 60km of road has already been built or renewed in Hungary using rubber-bitumen, from the rubber grist from some 150,000 used car tyres. The projected 20ktpa production of rubber-bitumen will then add to the recycling of about half a million used tyres, some 8-10% of the annual domestic tyre waste.

Zsolt Hernádi, MOL Group Chairman and CEO said the plant complements MOL’s 2030 strategy which focuses on change through the production of environmentally friendly, small-scale, innovative products. MOL is the only company in the CEE region with a proprietary patent to the rubber-bitumen technology.

Hernádi has added that rubber-bitumen roads can be maintained at 30% lesser costs than typical roads during its 30-year lifecycle. The cost-reduction will hopefully stimulate the widespread use of rubber-bitumen in the national economy, and create quieter and pothole-free roads in Hungary.

The Hungarian Government’s Enterprise Investment Support Programme will supplement MOL’s investment on the domestic road construction.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Hungary’s Minister of Finance Mihály Varga has said: “The Hungarian Government grants HUF 750 million support to MOL within the framework of the programme. The construction of MOL Group’s new plant contributes to better quality roads in Hungary.”

In Hungary’s Zala Refinery area,where the new plant is to be located, MOL has been producing hydrocarbons for over 80 years and has been refining for over 65 years. The Zala Refinery is a 5,000-tonne capacity rubber-bitumen plant that was launched in 2012. The new plant will secure refinery jobs for some 100 workers and further contribute to the efficient operation of the Zala Refinery.