UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced that China has commissioned the first of 14 planned propylene production units using technology from Honeywell's UOP to help close the global supply and demand gap for the key plastic building block.
China's Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical Co. Ltd became the first Chinese producer to start production of propylene using UOP C3 Oleflex™ process technology, which efficiently produces propylene from propane. Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical is currently producing high quality, on-spec product for acrylic acid and derivative production.
Traditionally, propylene is a byproduct of making ethylene, another key plastics building block. However, a shift in how ethylene is produced globally has meant less propylene byproduct is being produced, sparking investment in technology to create propylene from propane. Since 2011, UOP has licensed the C3 Oleflex process to more than a dozen producers to meet rising demand, with a majority of licensed capacity in China.
"China's propylene consumption accounts for more than 15 percent of worldwide demand and is growing at about 5 to 6 percent per year," said Pete Piotrowski, senior vice president and general manager of UOP's Process Technology and Equipment business. "Oleflex technology has been demonstrated to have the lowest cash cost of production due to its efficiency, providing a significant operating advantage to our licensees, and we look forward to showcasing the commercial success of this technology in China."
Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical Co. Ltd. will produce 450,000 metric tons annually (MTA) of propylene at its facility in Pinghu City in Zhejiang Province, China. Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical Co. Ltd., formerly known as Zhejiang Julong Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (ZJLPC), produces materials used in various markets, including aviation, automobile production, oil mining, health care and textiles.
"We were very pleased with the ease of startup of UOP's Oleflex technology," said Mr. Zhang Hongliang at Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical. "We chose the technology because it provides the lowest cash cost of production and best return on investment compared with all other technologies evaluated. UOP's local service and support team has been a key driver for this project's success."
Oleflex has been a leading technology for converting propane to propylene for more than 20 years. The C3 Oleflex process uses catalytic dehydrogenation to convert propane to propylene. Compared with competing processes, UOP's C3 Oleflex technology provides the lowest cash cost of production, the highest return on investment and the smallest environmental footprint. This superior performance is characterized by low capital cost, high propylene yields, low energy and water consumption, and use of a fully recyclable platinum alumina-based catalyst system.
In addition to the C3 Oleflex process, UOP also licenses its C4 Oleflex technology, a butane dehydrogenation process to convert isobutane to isobutylene.