Taiyo Oil picks UOP technology to improve flexibility at Japan petrochemical plant

Honeywell's UOP has been selected by Japan's Taiyo Oil to supply technology and catalysts to improve operational flexibility and increase petrochemical production at the Shikoku complex in Ehime, Japan.

The plant will install UOP's Tatoray process technology to allow it to boost yields of certain petrochemicals by more than 70%, and give the plant more flexibility to produce petrochemicals or gasoline as demand changes.

“Demand for petrochemicals in Asia is growing, while gasoline demand is expected to decrease due to stricter fuel specifications and increased demand for fuel-efficient vehicles,” said Pete Piotrowski, senior vice president and general manager of UOP's process technology and equipment business.

“The Tatoray process will significantly increase mixed xylene and benzene production, allowing Taiyo to respond to the region’s growing petrochemical demand, and it will give them the operational flexibility to also produce high-quality gasoline as needed," he added. "We look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with Taiyo as we work to complete this project.”

UOP noted that it has worked with Taiyo for nearly 30 years, and has provided almost all of the process units for its Shikoku site.

The new Tatoray unit is expected to produce 300,000 tpy of mixed xylene and high-purity beneze, which will require no further processing. The unit is expected to start up in 2014.

The Tatoray process converts toluene and C9 aromatics to mixed xylenes and high-purity benzene without the need for sulfolane extraction, according to UOP officials. The process can more than double mixed xylene production from a given naphtha feedstock, while significantly reducing the overall cost of production, making it one of the most economical ways to increase xylene and benzene yields in an aromatics complex.

UOP says the latest-generation Tatoray catalysts have also demonstrated superior activity and stability in multiple commercial applications. These catalysts enable higher on-stream efficiency with minimum cracking and the lowest hydrogen consumption for petrochemical-grade benzene and mixed xylene production.

As of 2013, UOP has licensed more than 95 aromatics complexes, including 60 Tatoray units.

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