June 2021

Catalysts

Ethylbenzene plant debottleneck with a high-activity transalkylation catalyst

Modern commercial ethylbenzene (EB) plants use liquid-phase alkylation processes with zeolite catalysts to achieve high product yields.

Liu, G., Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co., Ltd.; Sundararaman, R., ExxonMobil Chemical Co.; Cao, J., ExxonMobil Catalysts and Licensing

Modern commercial ethylbenzene (EB) plants use liquid-phase alkylation processes with zeolite catalysts to achieve high product yields. The desired primary reaction is the alkylation of benzene with ethylene. However, successive undesired reactions also occur in the alkylator, producing polyalkylated compounds such as diethylbenzene (DEB) and triethylbenzene (TEB). To maximize EB yield, these polyethylbenzenes (PEBs) are separated in the fractionation section and recycled into a transalkylation reactor in which the ethyl groups are transferred onto the benzene ring to produce additional ethylbenzene. FIG. 1 shows the schematic of the alkylation reactions and the transalkylation reactions in

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