UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced that its technology has been selected to produce key ingredients for fuels and synthetic rubber in China.
China’s Panjin Heyun New Material Co. will use Honeywell’s UOP C4 Oleflex™ process to produce isobutylene, a key ingredient for fuels and synthetic rubber. This is UOP’s third C4 Oleflex license in China this year. Panjin Heyun New Material Co. will also use Honeywell’s UOP Butamer™ process which converts normal butane to isobutane thereby maximizing the feedstock utilization to the UOP Oleflex process.
Southeast Asia is the world’s largest producer of rubber, and China is the largest consumer, accounting for 33 percent of the world’s rubber consumption, according to a 2012 Research and Markets report. China’s economy is expected to grow about 8 percent this year, further increasing the country’s need for key materials.
“As China’s economy grows, and the need for fuels and rubber rises worldwide, UOP is providing solutions that help producers maximize their output to support demands locally, while capturing a high return on investment,” said Pete Piotrowski, senior vice president and general manager of Honeywell’s UOP Process Technology & Equipment business unit. “UOP technology is currently being used in China to produce about 5 million metric tons annually of key petrochemicals and we look forward to working with Panjin to continue supporting the country’s efforts.”
The new unit, which is expected to start up in 2014, will process approximately 400,000 metric tons annually of isobutane feedstock at its facility in Liaoning Province, China. Honeywell’s UOP will provide the engineering design, technology licensing, catalysts, adsorbents, equipment, staff training and technical service for the project.
The C4 Oleflex process uses catalytic dehydrogenation to convert isobutane to isobutylene. Compared with competing processes, Oleflex technology provides the lowest cash cost of production, the highest return on investment and the smallest environmental footprint, enabled by high isobutylene yields, low energy and water consumption, and use of a fully recyclable platinum alumina-based catalyst system. In addition, unique to the Oleflex process, independent reaction and regeneration systems are in place that allow continuous use of catalysts for steady-state operations (non swing-bed), which helps maximize operating flexibility, on-stream factor and reliability.
Since the technology was commercialized in 1990, Honeywell’s UOP has commissioned nine C3 Oleflex units for on-purpose propylene production, with the 10th unit scheduled to start-up this year in Russia. There are currently five C4 Oleflex units in operation, producing nearly 2 million metric tons of isobutylene annually.
Earlier this year Honeywell’s UOP announced two new C4 Oleflex units in China, expected to produce 320,000 metric tons annually of isobutylene beginning in 2014. Since the beginning of 2011, Honeywell’s UOP has announced 11 new C3 Oleflex units in China, Abu Dhabi and North America. It also announced China’s first combined C3/C4 Oleflex unit, which is expected to start up in 2014.
Honeywell’s UOP Butamer process uses high-activity, chloride-promoted catalysts in the presence of hydrogen to convert isobutane to normal butane. To date, Honeywell’s UOP has commissioned 77 Butamer units to convert normal butane to isobutane and two Butamer units to convert isobutane to normal butane.
Panjin Heyun New Material Co. is a private company that produces key petrochemicals at its facility in Liaoning Province, China.