UOP to provide technology for Ascend on-purpose propylene project in Texas

Honeywell's UOP has been selected to provide technology for the world's largest on-purpose propylene production facility, located on the US Gulf Coast, the company announced on Thursday.

Ascend Performance Materials will use UOP's C3 Oleflex process technology to convert propane to propylene, a key ingredient in the production of materials such as nylon, films and packaging.

The Ascend propane hydrogenation (PDH) project will be located at a site near Houston, according to US regulatory filings.

Petrochemical makers are installing additional propylene capacity to meet growing demand and to make up for the shortage of propylene production from traditional refining and petrochemical sources, according to UOP officials. 

The Ascend project is the 14th Oleflex project that UOP has announced since the beginning of 2011, and the company's seventh Oleflex project in North America since the technology was developed.

The combined Oleflex projects announced since 2011 will help increase propylene production by nearly 7 million tpy globally in the next three years.

"Global propylene demand is growing at about 4 to 5 percent per year," said Pete Piotrowski, senior vice president and general manager of Honeywell's UOP process technology and equipment business.

"The US is seeing an increase in on-purpose propylene production because of the abundance of low-cost propane from shale gas," he added. "Compared with competing propane dehydrogenation processes, UOP Oleflex technology provides the lowest cash cost of production, the highest return on investment and the smallest environmental footprint.'

Ascend will install the Oleflex technology at its facility to produce more than 1 million tpy of propylene beginning in 2015. In addition to technology licensing, UOP will supply engineering design, catalysts, adsorbents and selected equipment for the project.

"As Ascend continues to take the steps necessary for the development of a propane dehydrogenation plant, one of our most important decisions is the choice of technology," said Tim Strehl, president of Ascend Performance Materials Operations.

"We believe Honeywell's UOP process technology will provide us with the best production advantage, and we look forward to our partnership with them," he added.

Ascend describes itself as a global leader in proprietary technologies that are essential to the production of nylon, plastics and synthetic fibers found in commercial and industrial products. Ascend has offices throughout the world and five manufacturing facilities in the US.

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