April 2002


Improve benzene production from refinery sources

A new cracking route reduces cost of benzene while coproducing ethylene

Benzene is the building block for several major commodity petrochemicals. It is mainly recovered from refinery catalytic reforming streams and furthered purified for petrochemical applications. Traditional product processing steps alkylate high-purity (99.9 wt%) benzene with ethylene to form ethylbenzene (EB)-the precursor compound for styrene monomer (SM). Similarly, benzene can be alkylated with propylene to form cumene-a precursor of phenol. To achieve such high-purity levels, HPI companies use aromatic extraction, an expensive processing step. Due to improved alkylation technology, lower purity benzene (about 98 wt%) can be considered for EB and cumene production. By lower

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