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Mitsubishi to co-develop new propylene production process
Dec '09
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC; head office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President: Yoshimitsu Kobayashi) and JGC Corporation (JGC; headquarters: Yokohama, Japan; Chairman & CEO: Keisuke Takeuchi) have been jointly developing a new propylene production process based on each company's proprietary technologies. The companies have reached a mutual agreement on the construction of a pilot plant and the commencement of a project for the validation of the process, with the aim of commercialization.

Propylene, produced by conventional technologies such as the steam cracker of naphtha and fluid catalytic crackers (FCC) of oil refining, is a basic hydrocarbon material used to produce polypropylene for car parts and other widely used petrochemical products as general merchandise, which is in great demand. The domestic demand for ethylene produced by the steam cracker, however, is predicted to decline in the future. The accompanying lower rate of operation for the steam cracker of naphtha is therefore raising concerns that propylene production may have to be reduced.

JGC and Mitsubishi Chemical have been co-developing the new technology since 2007 to produce propylene using feedstock from among methanol, dimethylether (Note 1), and olefin products (Note 2) whose efficient utilization has not been exploited. Today, as completion of the research comes into sight, the two companies have decided to build the pilot plant, as described below, and conduct validation for commercialization purposes.The process will enable efficient utilization of the stream, not done up to now, as well as a lowering of CO2 emissions compared with conventional propylene production methods which use the steam cracker of naphtha. The positive contribution will be a reduction in CO2.

After validation is completed, the two companies will decide on licensing the technologies to the domestic and overseas propylene production markets. Moreover, Mitsubishi Chemical will study the possibility of constructing production lines adopting the new technologies.

Note 1: Manufactured from coke-oven gas (COG), a byproduct of cokes production and liquefied natural gas.
Note 2: Olefins are byproducts produced during naphtha cracker processing, and are not utilized efficiently.

Location of pilot plant: Premises of Mitsubishi Chemical's Mizushima Plant.
Investment amount: Approximately 2.6 billion yen.
Commencement of construction: November 2009, with completion scheduled for the end of July 2010.

Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

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