APIC '12: US Aither Chemicals to revamp old Carbide tech

17 May 2012 10:13  [Source: ICIS news]

KUALA LUMPUR (ICIS)--US-based start-up Aither Chemicals aims to improve upon a technology developed in the mid-1980s by Union Carbide to produce ethylene and acetic acid from ethane, one consultant said on Thursday.

“It is ‘back to the future’ for them, as they will be dusting off and improving an old Union Carbide process called Ethoxene, which was never commercialised,” said Jeffrey Plotkin, vice president at US-based consultancy Nexant.

Plotkin was speaking on the sidelines of the 34th annual Asia Petrochemicals Industry Conference (APIC) being held in Kuala Lumpur on 17-18 May.

Aither said in January that it planned to build an ethane cracker to take advantage of feedstock from Marcellus Shale natural gas deposits. The project would cost $750m (€593m) over five years.

“The process will use ethane and oxygen with a catalyst to co-produce ethylene and acetic acid,” Plotkin said.

Aither, based in West Virginia, US, is comprised of certain former Union Carbide employees that worked in the area, noted the consultants.

($1 = €0.79)

Additional reporting by John Richardson in Kuala Lumpur

By: Joseph Chang
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