Lyondell builds new PO technology plant in Pennsylvania

08 October 2002 15:16  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (CNI)--Lyondell Chemical said Tuesday it is building an integrated pilot plant in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania to develop its proprietary direct oxidation propylene oxide (PO) technology.

The plant will be constructed at Lyondell's Technology Center, the company said, and will be the final demonstration of the technology before commercialisation.

Lyondell did not provide the size or cost of the facility. Telephone calls to Lyondell seeking additional information were not immediately returned. The company's operating capacity for PO is about 1.8m tonne/year.

Ed Dineen, Lyondell senior vice president of chemicals and polymers, said the company has been working on a technology that will produce PO without requiring an auxiliary feedstock facility such as a hydrogen peroxide plant.

Said Dineen: "The added benefit of our technology is that it produces PO without a co-product such as styrene or tertiary butyl alcohol. Now that our extensive testing of the lab-scale process is complete, we are ready to pilot the process on a much larger scale."

Currently, PO is produced via the propylene oxide/styrene monomer (POSM) process, the propylene oxide/t-butyl alcohol (PO/TBA) process and the chlorohydrin process.

Dineen said Lyondell believes the POSM process is the best technology available to produce PO because of its significantly lower cash costs.

He added: "A direct PO plant costs less to build than a POSM, PO/TBA or chlorohydrin plant. And because there is no co-product, our investment decisions will not be influenced by market conditions for the co-product."

Houston-based Lyondell Chemical is the world's largest producer of PO; the world's number three supplier of TDI (toluene diisocyanate) and a leading producer of propylene.

By: Mike Sheridan
+1 713 525 2653

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