UOP to license TPC Group process technology for on-purpose butadiene

TPC Group and Honeywell's UOP have entered into an agreement for UOP to be the exclusive licensor of the proprietary TPC Group OXO-D technology used to produce on-purpose butadiene, a key ingredient for making synthetic rubber.

The two companies will immediately begin working together to license TPC Group's proprietary OXO-D technology, which has been successfully operated for more than 40 years, commercially converting butene to butadiene for the production of synthetic rubber. The current OXO-D technology is the basis for TPC's current on-purpose butadiene project in commercial development now. 

The two companies will jointly develop further enhancements to OXO-D, the most efficient and low-cost method to make on-purpose butadiene, leveraging UOP's expertise in licensing and technology.

"We believe our OXO-D technology is the most efficient, competitive and commercially proven technology in the world for the on-purpose production of butadiene," said Mike White, senior vice president of operations and technology. "We look forward to working jointly with UOP to continue to advance our leading on-purpose butadiene technology through UOP's depth of knowledge and experience as a licensor within our industry."

The technology effort is focused on the direct conversion of butene, a byproduct of refining processes, into butadiene, a key ingredient in the production of synthetic rubber used in tire and other applications.

"Changes in refining and petrochemical production in recent years have caused butadiene production to not keep pace with rising demand. This 'butadiene gap' can be closed with new technologies to produce on-purpose butadiene," said Pete Piotrowski, senior vice president and general manager of UOP's process technology and equipment business. "TPC helped found the modern on-purpose butadiene industry with its patented technology, and we look forward to commercializing new technology with them."

Butadiene has been traditionally produced as a byproduct of the naphtha cracking processes. But in recent years, refiners have moved to using lighter feedstocks to make ethylene and propylene, key building blocks for plastics, causing less byproduct butadiene to be produced. At the same time, supply of butene, also a byproduct of refining processes, remains comparatively plentiful.  

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