Propylene oxide (PO) is a highly reactive chemical used as an intermediate for the production of numerous commercial materials. The largest derivative of PO is polyether polyols, one of the main components used in the manufacture of polyurethanes. Propylene glycol (PG) is the second largest PO derivative.
Global demand for PO had been growing at 4-5%/year, with the strongest growth in China and India. However, demand was hit by the economic downturn in the second half of 2008 and poor market conditions continued into 2009. At the same time, two new plants in Belgium and Saudi Arabia started up.
Propylene oxide is made traditionally by chlorohydrin or epoxidation routes. The propylene oxide/styrene monomer (PO/SM) epoxidation process had been gaining in popularity due to its superior economics. However, new PO technologies that do not made coproducts have now been commercialised.
Propylene oxide is a very volatile, colourless, flammable liquid with a characteristic ether-like odour. PO reacts violently with chlorine, ammonia, strong oxidants and acids causing fire and explosion hazards.
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Propylene oxide (PO) is a highly reactive chemical used as an intermediate for the production of numerous commercial materials. The largest derivative of PO is polyether polyols, taking about 60-70% of PO demand. Polyether polyols are one of the main components used in the manufacture of polyurethanes (PUs), which are used in applications such as rigid foam installation and flexible foam seat cushions. World demand for polyols is growing about 5%/year.
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Propylene oxide (PO) is made traditionally by chlorohydrin or epoxidation routes. In the older chlorohydrin process, propylene and chlorine react in the presence of water to form propylene chlorohydrin, which is further reacted with sodium or calcium hydroxide to obtain PO.
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