31 March 1997 00:00 [Source: ICB]
UOP and Nippon Steel Chemical have agreed to license the Japanese company's polystyrene (PS) technology from 9 April, announced UOP at the NPRA meeting in San Antonio, Texas, last week. UOP also said it was looking for partners to license its linear alpha-olefins technology when launching a number of new processes for olefins and derivatives production (ECN 10 March).
The agreement with Nippon Steel covers technology for general purpose and high impact PS as well as styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) resins. The process is used in Nippon Steel's facilities in Tobata and Kimitsu, Japan. Although both companies may sell and promote the technology, UOP has primary responsibility for sales, promotion and preparation of basic engineering designs. UOP expects licences to be sold to non-captive producers which account for 50% of new capacity.
UOP also outlined its Linear-1 ethylene oligomerisation process which produces a range of C4 to C20 alpha-olefins but focuses on C6, C8 and C10 products. The output is easily modified to meet customer needs by adjusting the catalyst system. UOP claims that the process reduces operating costs and capital investment by operating at low temperatures and with high catalytic yields. UOP estimates a need for three world-scale plants of 250 000 tonne/year in the next five years although the process can be scaled for smaller producers at 100 000 tonne/year.
The company has also announced that it hopes to sign its first licensing agreement for its methanol-to-olefins (MTO) process jointly developed with Norsk Hydro. The process can produce a higher proportion of propylene than naphtha crackers, up to a 1:1 ratio.
The commercial focus is currently on the revamp of existing crackers where a methanol source is available (ECN 16 December 1996). UOP says it can compete with methanol priced as high as $120-140/tonne in revamps. An additional selling point to existing US Gulf crackers is that many are close to emissions limits and cannot add another furnace without new permits.
UOP has also used NPRA to promote its propane dehydrogenation technology.
The process incorporates its TCR technology into its Oleflex process (ECN 24 March). UOP indicated that there is one project under discussion in the Middle East and three in Asia. UOP is supplying Oleflex technology to the Montell/Xenel joint venture in Saudi Arabia.
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