Chinese petrochemical firm Jiangsu Sailboat Petrochemical Company, Ltd. has conducted a 10-day test to confirm successful operations of its UOP Advanced Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) unit from Honeywell. The unit is expected to have an annual production capacity of 833,000 metric tons per year, making it the largest single-train MTO unit in the world.
Located in Lianyungang City in China’s Jiangsu Province, the Sailboat facility will produce propylene for the production of acrylonitrile, which is used to make clothing and fabrics, and high performance polymers used in automotive parts, hard hats and other hard plastic products.
The plant also will produce ethylene for the production of ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers, which are used to make adhesives, foams, medical devices, photovoltaic cells, and other products, as well as C4 olefins for the production of butadiene, an ingredient in synthetic rubber.
When fully completed, the 500-hectare facility will produce about 2.5 million tons of short-supply high-end petrochemical products annually.
“We expect China to invest more than US$100 billion in coal-to-chemicals technology in the next five years,” said Mike Millard, vice president and general manager of UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment business. “With China’s demand growth for propylene of 7% per year, ethylene demand growing nearly 6%, and butadiene at almost 4%, our Advanced MTO process provides an excellent solution to meet that demand.”
Ethylene and propylene, the two most widely used components to make plastics in the world, have traditionally been derived from crude oil. For regions such as China that lack domestic sources of crude oil, the Advanced MTO Technology allows for the use of other more economical feedstocks such as coal and natural gas.
Jiangsu Sailboat chose the Advanced MTO process because it produces the highest yields of light olefins at the lowest cost of production, with the lowest catalyst consumption and the lowest operating cost. In addition, the unit is configured for production of C4 olefins, as well as ethylene and propylene.
Honeywell UOP’s Advanced MTO process combines the UOP/Hydro MTO process and the Total/UOP Olefin Cracking Process to significantly increase yields and feedstock efficiency. The process converts methanol from coal and natural gas into ethylene and propylene. At the heart of the technology are UOP’s proprietary catalysts, which make it possible to efficiently adjust the ratio of propylene and ethylene produced so operators can most effectively meet demand for those products.