Qixiang Tengda starts up sustainable propylene oxide plant in China

Qixiang Tengda starts up sustainable propylene oxide plant in China

China’s Zibo Qixiang Tengda Chemical Co. that licensed HPPO technology to produce sustainable propylene oxide from German chemicals firm Evonik and Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions has started up the plant.

With the capacity to produce 300,000 tonnes/year of propylene oxide, the complex involves two main plants: a world-scale HPPO facility to synthesise propylene oxide directly from hydrogen peroxide using a method licensed from Evonik and Thyssenkrupp Uhde. The other is a new hydrogen peroxide megaplant licensed from Evonik to provide the raw material directly on-site. Evonik is also supplying its catalyst specifically designed for the process.

Propylene oxide is used mainly for the production of polyurethane foams, which are used in automotive parts, furniture upholstery, thermal insulation, coating materials, sports shoes, and other sports equipment. The global market for polyurethane is expected to grow with China being one of the most important growth markets. Tightening environmental regulations support the strategic focus of the Active Oxygens Business Line of Evonik, to further promote and expand the green HPPO Technology, including through licensing, on top of developing the traditional hydrogen peroxide business.

HPPO stands for “hydrogen peroxide to propylene oxide”, a process in which propylene oxide (PO) is obtained directly from hydrogen peroxide and propylene. What makes this possible is an HPPO catalyst based on titanium silicalite (TS-1) developed by Evonik especially for the process. Compared to conventional production processes for propylene oxide, the HPPO process requires a significantly lower investment volume and is more profitable. In addition, it is environmentally friendly, since it is characterised by a high selectivity and no significant amounts of byproducts occur other than water.

Design and construction of the Qixiang Tengda facility began in the second half 2019 after the three partners signed licensing and supply agreements. Similar Evonik licensing projects are also in preparation or further advanced in implementation.

The chemical company Qixiang Tengda is part of the Cedar Holdings Group. The company, with a workforce of more than 2,000, possesses expertise and has many years of experience in C4 chemistry.