UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced today that China’s Jiutai Energy (Zhungeer) Co. Ltd. has licensed Honeywell’s UOP methanol-to-olefins (MTO) technology to convert methanol from coal into key plastics building blocks.
Honeywell’s UOP/Hydro MTO process converts methanol from gasified coal or natural gas to produce high yields of ethylene and propylene, building block materials used in the production of films, packaging, plastics and other petrochemicals.
The breakthrough technology allows producers in countries such as China to tap abundant coal resources, rather than more expensive petroleum, to produce petrochemicals.
“UOP’s MTO process will allow Jiutai to use methanol derived from cheaper and abundant coal to maximize yields of high-value petrochemicals, reduce operating costs and expand its presence in China’s growing ethylene and propylene markets,” said Pete Piotrowski, senior vice president and general manager of Honeywell’s UOP Process Technology & Equipment business unit. “This project is another milestone for MTO technology and another example of how this technology can tap cheaper feedstocks such as coal and natural gas to meet the growing global demand for petrochemical products.”
China is the world’s largest producer of coal, accounting for nearly half of the world’s production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, making it an attractive alternative feedstock for in-country production of plastics building blocks.
Jiutai will produce 600,000 metric tons per year of ethylene and propylene at its facility in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia Province, China. In addition to technology licensing, Honeywell’s UOP will provide basic engineering, catalysts, adsorbents, specialty equipment, technical services and training for the project, which is expected to start up in 2014.
The MTO process, jointly developed by Honeywell’s UOP and INEOS, converts methanol from crude oil and non-crude oil sources such as coal or natural gas to ethylene and propylene. The process, based on proprietary UOP catalysts, is proven to provide high yields with minimal byproducts. MTO also offers flexibility in the quantity of propylene and ethylene produced, so producers can adjust plant designs to most effectively address market demands.
In 2011, UOP announced a similar project with China’s Wison (Nanjing) Clean Energy Company Ltd., which licensed the first commercial-scale installation of Honeywell’s UOP MTO methanol-to-olefins solution, which combines the UOP/Hydro MTO process and the Total Petrochemicals/UOP Olefin Cracking Process. The facility is expected to produce 295,000 metric tons of ethylene and propylene per year.
Jiutai Energy Co. Ltd. is a fully-owned subsidiary of the Jiutai Energy Group, based in Linyi City, Shandong Province, China. Founded in 2002, Jiutai Energy Group is the world’s largest manufacturer of DME dimethyl ether, a chemical compound used in the production of propane alternatives, aerosol propellants, refrigerants and other petrochemicals.