Dow Chemical picks UOP for propylene production technology at Texas project

Honeywell’s UOP has been selected by Dow Chemical to provide technology to produce propylene at a Dow production site in Texas, the companies said on Thursday.

Dow Texas Operations will use Honeywell UOP C3 Oleflex technology in a new propane dehydrogenation unit to convert shale gas-derived propane to propylene, a product used in the production of packaging, adhesives, coatings, cleaners and many other end-use applications, the company said.

The facility will produce 750,000 metric tpy of polymer-grade propylene.

The unit is scheduled to start up in 2015. It will be the first of its kind in the US and the largest single-train propane dehydrogenation plant in North America.

“There is a unique opportunity in today’s market where shale gas development is driving lower prices and greater availability of propane as a feedstock for petrochemicals,” said Pete Piotrowski, senior vice president for process technology and equipment at UOP. “This, along with global growth in propylene demand, makes the Oleflex process a highly attractive solution.”

“This agreement represents another significant milestone in our comprehensive plan to further connect Dow’s US operations with cost-advantaged ethane and propane feedstocks, based on the abundant shale gas deposits in the US,” said Jim Fitterling, Dow executive vice president and president of feedstocks, energy and corporate development.

The Oleflex process uses UOP CCR continuous catalyst regeneration technology to dehydrogenate propane to propylene over a platinum catalyst.

Compared with alternative propane dehydrogenation processes, Oleflex technology provides the lowest cash cost of production and the highest return on investment, UOP said.

These outcomes are enabled by low operating and capital costs, minimum plot area requirements, excellent scalability, high propylene yield, and maximum operating flexibility, according to the company.

Since the technology was commercialized in 1990, Honeywell’s UOP has commissioned nine C3 Oleflex units for on-purpose propylene production, with the 10th unit scheduled to start up in 2012 in Russia.

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