UOP licenses MTO technology to China's Shandong for coal-to-olefins project

Honeywell's UOP granted the third technology license for its breakthrough methanol-to-olefins (MTO) technology, which converts methanol from coal into key petrochemicals, the company said Thursday.

China's Shandong Yangmei Hengtong Chemicals  will use UOP's advanced MTO process, which combines the UOP/Hydro MTO process and the Total Petrochemicals/UOP olefin cracking process to convert methanol from gasified coal into ethylene and propylene, building block materials used in the production of films, packaging, plastics and other petrochemicals.

China is the world's largest producer of coal, accounting for nearly half of global production, according to the US Energy Information Administration, making it an attractive alternative feedstock for in-country production of plastics building blocks.

"UOP's advanced MTO solution allows petrochemical producers in China such as Shandong to tap abundant and cheap coal resources, produce high yields of valuable petrochemicals, and reduce operating costs," said Pete Piotrowski, senior vice president and general manager of Honeywell's UOP process technology and equipment business unit.

"This technology will help Shandong meet growing demand in China for ethylene and propylene."

Shandong will use UOP's advanced MTO solution to produce more than 295,000 tpy of ethylene and propylene at its facility in Tancheng, Linyi City, 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 (formerly Hydro), converts methanol derived 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.

Shandong will also use the olefin cracking process, which boosts the total yield of useable ethylene and propylene by further converting olefins produced during the MTO process.

Previously, Honeywell's UOPannounced two other MTO projects. China's Wison (Nanjing) Clean Energy Company also licensed Honeywell UOP's advanced MTO solution, while China's Jiutai Energy (Zhungeer) Co. licensed Honeywell's UOP/Hydro MTO process.

The facilities are expected to produce 295,000 and 600,000 tpy of ethylene and propylene, respectively.

Shandong Yangmei Hengtong Chemicals Co. is a global chemical enterprise that produces urea, methanol, caustic soda, hydrogen peroxide and polyvinyl chloride. The company is based in Linyi, China, and operates as a subsidiary of Shanxi Yangquan Coal Industry (Group).

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