Total Petrochemicals starts up MTO pilot plant at Feluy, Belgium

06 July 2010 16:16  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Total Petrochemicals has successfully started to produce olefins and polyolefins from its methanol-to-olefins (MTO) demonstration project at its research centre in Feluy, Belgium, and has started discussions with potential partners, the chemical giant said on Tuesday.

The €45.0m ($56.3m) demonstration plant, which was inaugurated in October 2008, was designed to assess, on a quasi-industrial scale, the technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness of two integrated processes that produce olefins and subsequently polyolefins from methanol, which can be obtained from natural gas, coal or biomass.

The MTO process, developed by UOP and Hydro, converts methanol into light olefins such as ethylene (C2) and propylene (C3), and heavier olefins. The heavy olefins are in turn converted into C3 via the UOP/Total Petrochemicals olefin cracking process (OCP).

“...we have been sampling monomers at the back end of the fractionation section. We produced successfully polypropylene of industrial quality out of it,” said Eric Duchesne, head of the MTO project.

“This proves that the technology ….opens the way to a very efficient production of polyolefins based on methanol from alternative feedstock such as coal, natural gas or biomass,” he added.

“The success of the Feluy project provides Total Petrochemicals with a technology and hands-on leadership on MTO/OCP technology,” said Francois Cornelis, vice president of the executive committee of Total.

“We will develop MTO/OCP projects with potential partners in coal or gas rich countries that are looking for developing their petrochemical industry based on their own raw materials," he added.

“…we have achieved a key milestone of this project, the production of polyethylene will complete the endeavour in the upcoming months,” said Eric Duchesne.

Total added that it intended to demonstrate a more than 85% efficiency of the combined MTO-OCP process.

“That means more than 85% of the carbon entering the unit will come out as ethylene and propylene,” said Eric Duchesne.

“This is very important as such high carbon efficiency means less feedstock is needed to produce the final polymer,” he added.

($1 = €0.80)

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By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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