Growing glycerine-to-ECH plants

The green blogger is attending next week’s American Cleaning Institute’s (formerly Soap and Detergent Association) annual meeting in Orlando. I am excited to announced that I will be interviewing Seventh Generation’s Martin Wolf  (Director, Product Sustainability and Authenticity) as well as companies such as Evonik Goldschmidt, Procter & Gamble, BASF, VVF Ltd., and FMC.

I was hoping to talk to Solvay as well since it’s a major producer of soda ash and chlor-alkali products not to mention that I’m interested in their current glycerine-to-epichlorohydrin projects. By the way, I usually write a comprehensive market update on oleochemicals every year just for the ACI event. You can now access my latest article on ICIS Chemical Business.

Back to Solvay, the company announced in December that it is planning to build an epichlorohydrin plant in China with initial capacity of 100,000 tons/year using glycerine as feedstock.The facility is expected to start producing ECH in 2013.

Solvay’s Epicerol technology will also be used by Advanced Biochemical Thailand, a subsidiary of Vinythai, which is currently building a 100,000 tons/year glycerine-to-ECH plant. This facility is expected to start operation in 2012.

According to Solvay, its EpicerolĀ® technology reduces the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 70%, divides water consumption by 10, and volume of chlorinated by-products by eight compared to the traditional propylene based production process of epichlorohydrin.

By the way, for those who are not familiar with glycerine, Solvay previously produces synthetic glycerine before via the ECH route (as you can see on the image). Unfortunately the deluge of biodiesel production worldwide resulted in an oversupply of its co-product glycerine hence the disappearance of synthetic glycerine production.

According to my colleague Serena Seng from ICIS Pricing, only Yang Nong Jiang Su currently uses glycerine as feedstock in its 60,000 tonne/year ECH facility as pointed out by industry sources.

More and more Chinese ECH makers would likely make the switch to using glycerine since it costs lower than the traditional feedstock propylene, according to these sources. A report from ICIS news last week noted China-based Fujian Haobang Chemical has been running trials at its newly built 5,000 tonne/year ECH unit at Longyan in southern Fujian province. The company will reportedly use glycerine as well.

The Thailand ECH plant is expected to use up 120,000 tonnes/year of refined glycerin. ICIS also noted Dow Shanghai’s ECH plant (expected to start-up in 2012) will utilize 150,000 tonnes/year while Samsung Korea’s ECH plant (also in 2012) will process an estimated 30,000 tonnes/year.

One Response to Growing glycerine-to-ECH plants

  1. Kantilal Desai 7 May, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    I would like to know diffrent technology available in market to produce epichlorohydrine from glycerine.

    Do you have comparision with diffrent technology.

    Kind regards,

    Kantilal Desai

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