The OXO Conference – recapitulation of the rich history and future prospects.


Grupa Azoty ZAK S.A. celebrated on 17-18 November 2016 in Wrocław the 30th anniversary of commissioning their OXO Plant in Kędzierzyn-Koźle. An international scientific event was organized within that celebration, i.e. The OXO Conference with the motto “Advances in OXO Synthesis – Where the Science Meets Industry”.


– The Conference makes an opportunity for Grupa Azoty to present ourselves to the scientific circles, not only from Poland but also from Europe, as an attractive partner who is capable of commercially implementing the scientific achievements. – said Mariusz Bober, President of Management Board of Grupa Azoty.

The group of 150 participants comprised the most prominent representatives of the chemical scientists from the leading Polish academic centres and numerous guests from the European universities.


In 1986, Zakłady Azotowe Kędzierzyn started their production of OXO alcohols and established the strong position in that segment of the European market over the years. The plant was subjected to considerable revamping in 1998 and despite 30 years of operation it can still reach the highest technical parameters. The factory in Kędzierzyn produces over 200,000 tons of 2‑ethylhexanol and butanols per year. It was an important point in the history of the OXO complex when the most modern facility in that part of Europe was started up in 2015 for the production of a non-phthalate plasticiser (Oxoviflex®). That product met with general approval from the PVC processors, and it was honoured by Polska Agencja Rozwoju Przedsiębiorczości [Polish Agency for Enterprise Development] with the prestigious title “Polski Produkt Przyszłości” [Polish Product of the Future].



– Our ambition is that Grupa Azoty ZAK S.A. should become the most innovative Polish company in the area of specialized chemistry – said President Gramza in his speech. Those aspirations were confirmed by establishing Centrum Aplikacji OXO i Polimerów [Centre for OXO Applications and Polymers] in 2016. – We will create innovative solutions there to meet various needs of the chemical sector halfway. A modern application laboratory will be formed where innovative and technologically advanced products of specialized chemistry will be developed and tested to make them tailored to the needs of our clients. I am convinced that we are on the right way towards considerable success. – President Gramza continued.



Both Polish and foreign experts were invited to give lecturers. Prof. Anna Trzeciak, Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry, University of Wrocław, spoke about the history of  hydroformylation, and Prof. Bogdan Marciniec, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, presented the issues of organometallic compounds and inorganometallic compounds in chemical catalysis and their applications in the organic synthesis and materials science. A presentation by Angel Fernandez from Tecnon OrbiChem Ltd made an important change in the Conference; it looked at OXO alcohols in the business perspective. Its author analysed the market for OXO alcohols from the global viewpoint, and he paid attention to the dominant trends in that segment. Adding to the lectures and presentations, the organizers also planned a discussion panel. Prof. Katarzyna Chojnacka, Wrocław University of Technology, member of Supervisory Board of Grupa Azoty ZAK S.A., took part in the discussion on the right way for success which was moderated by Katarzyna Ruczka, Director of Department for Strategy and Development. – I would like to voice my highest approval to the group of organizers of the Wrocław Conference: they managed to assemble so many world-famous hydroformylation experts in one place. All the lectures were very interesting and the level was extremely high as regards their merits – summarized Prof. Chojnacka. – It is a rare instance when an industrial company organizes such a specialized scientific conference – stressed Prof. Zbigniew Marciniec, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań – and all what is left for us is to be glad that such a challenge has been taken up.



Strictly scientific lectures, with specialized subject matters, were dominant on the second day. For example, Prof. Piet W.N.M. van Leeuwen, INSA Toulouse, presented the use of rhodium catalysts in the hydroformylation process. Prof. Reko Leino, University of Turku, focused his lecture on the combination of catalytic and kinetic tools for small molecule synthesis. A lecturer of the Dortmund Technical University, Arno Behr, reported the problem of new catalyst metals and novel ways of catalyst recycling, and Armin Börner, University of Rostock, presented the transformations of Rh-catalysts during hydroformylation. The results of their research conducted jointly with the Faculty of Chemistry, University of Wrocław, within hydroformylation processes, and jointly with the Institute of Heavy Organic Synthesis “Blachownia” within conversion of aldehydes, were presented by the representatives of Grupa Azoty ZAK S.A. Lectures should also be mentioned which were given by scientists who represented: University of Wrocław, Silesian Technical University, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, and Institute of Industrial Chemistry in Warsaw.


During the Conference closing ceremony, President Mateusz Gramza expressed his hope that the conference would become a cyclic event, which would make a forum for exchange of ideas for many years, and which would draw people from the scientific and industrial circles on a regular basis. – It is to be wished that our motto “Where the science meets industry” could become our principal goal. – President Gramza summed up.


Conference feedback:


„I can say, this was one of the best organized and most exclusive conferences, which I have ever attended.” – Armin Boerner, LIKAT Rostock


„Let me also congratulate you for the so high success of the conference from both scientific and social viewpoints. The idea to put together people from the University and the Industry was excellent and timely.” – Armando Pombeiro, Uniwersytet Lizboński


„Many thanks for the excellent meeting and your hospitality in Wroclaw last week!I look forward to meeting you all again!” – Reko Leino, Abo Akademi University, Turku