October 2005

Special Report: Improving Process Control

Increase MTBE plant productivity

Applying advanced process control solutions enabled raising unit output without a major retrofit of existing equipment

A large methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) plant plays a key role in an Asian petrochemical complex that also produces propylene (Fig. 1). Due to strong market demand, the operations management investigated ways of increasing MTBE production of the existing unit beyond its original design capacity quickly and at a low cost. Optimizing the operation of the unit, rather than new construction or large-scale revamping projects, was given priority.  Fig. 1     Propylene and MTBE production chain.

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