04 January 2001 14:18 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--German specialty chemicals company Degussa-Huls and compatriot engineering firm Krupp Uhde said Thursday they expect to begin commercialising their new propylene oxide (PO) process in 2003.
The companies announced earlier today an agreement to co-operate on the development of the new process, which produces PO through the catalytic oxidation of propylene with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).
A Krupp Uhde spokesman said they plan to finish developing the process and begin commercialisation from mid- to end-2003. Licensing revenues will be split 50:50 between the two companies.
He said a small joint venture pilot plant is currently under construction at Degussa's site in Hanau-Wolfgang, near Frankfurt and is due onstream in the next few weeks. It will produce approximately 0.5-5 kg/hour (4-40 tonne/year).
Degussa-Huls, which is a major H2O2 producer, said the new PO process will require 0.7 tonne of H2O2 to produce 1 tonne PO. The global market for PO was about 4.7m tonne in 2000 and is currently growing at about 4-5% per year, with the highest growth rates in Asia, it said.
Degussa-Huls has the capacity to produce 430 000 tonne/year of H2O2 from plants in Germany, Belgium, Austria, the US, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa.
PO is currently manufactured primarily through the chlorohydrine process, which produces a chlorine-containing waste liquor, and the PO/styrene monomer (SM) process, which generates large quantities of SM as a co-product. It is used primarily in the production of polyurethane (PU) and polyester resin raw materials.
The Krupp spokesman said the new technology could possibly be retrofitted into existing PO plants which use the chlorohydrine process, but this would need to be investigated. The technology would not be suitable for retrofitting into PO/SM facilities.
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