Honeywell’s UOP plans new China plant to produce catalysts, adsorbents

Honeywell will establish a new manufacturing campus in Zhangjiagang, China, to support growing demand in Asia for energy technology and advanced materials produced by its performance materials and technologies (PMT) business, the company said on Tuesday.

The initial phase of the investment will include catalyst and adsorbents production capacity for Honeywell UOP, a PMT business that is a leading international supplier of catalysts, adsorbents, equipment and process technology for the petroleum refining, gas processing, petrochemicals and renewable energy industries.

"PMT continues to experience strong growth in Asia, driven by new process technologies and materials in demand in China and other parts of this key region," said Andreas Kramvis, CEO of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. "This investment is an additional milestone in expanding PMT's global footprint and demonstrates our commitment to supporting our rapid business growth in China and the rest of Asia."

The initial phase of the project will include a production facility for advanced catalysts for Honeywell UOP's Oleflex process technology, which is used to produce propylene. UOP has licensed Oleflex technology to 19 Chinese producers over the past three years, as those producers work to meet strong demand for propylene and isobutylene at a time when global propylene supplies have tightened. 

Compared with alternative technologies, Honeywell says its Oleflex technology offers higher yields, lower production costs and higher investment returns, with the smallest environmental footprint. UOP has licensed a total of 23 Oleflex units globally since 2011.

The initial phase of the Zhangjiagang project will also include the production of adsorbents, thereby expanding capacity for Shanghai UOP, a joint venture of UOP and Shanghai Huayi Group founded in 1988. Adsorbents are materials used in applications ranging from refining and petrochemical production to natural gas processing. 

"UOP has a long history of supporting China with advanced process technologies, materials and services for refining and petrochemical production," said Rajeev Gautam, CEO of Honeywell's UOP, noting that UOP was one of only 10 businesses that US President Richard Nixon recommended to China in 1972 to drive bilateral exchange to accelerate China's modernization development.

"This new site will enable us to meet current demand for a key catalyst and adsorbent products and allow for future expansion to meet growing demand," he added.

The more than 120-acre site is PMT's first wholly-owned manufacturing campus in China. It is located in the industrial park in Zhangjiagang, which is located 85 miles northwest of Shanghai. 

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