440643 Dow Catalytic Dehydrogenation: The Future of on-Purpose Propylene Production

Wednesday, April 13, 2016: 3:35 PM
Grand Ballroom BC (Hilton Americas - Houston)
Matt Pretz, Hydrocarbons R&D, The Dow Chemical Company, Freeport, TX

Shale gas has produced an imbalance in the propylene supply/demand balance.  This sudden commercial need drove the implementation of several projects with previously commercialized technology in the propane dehydrogenation market.  These technologies were adapted from existing processes that were in the licensor’s capabilities.  Unfortunately, the existing technologies are not tailored to efficiently manage the inherent challenges in the area of catalyst activity, heat input, reaction equilibrium and gas residence time that hydrocarbon cracking processes possess.  Therefore, the Dow Chemical Company has developed a Catalytic Dehydrogenation Process that is designed from the standpoint of a producer to efficiently solve the problems inherent in catalytic dehydrogenation processes. 

The new technology is a circulating fluid bed technology that is modeled off the existing Fluid Catalytic Cracking process (FCC).  The Dow process utilizes a proprietary catalyst with a proprietary reactor and regenerator design to achieve 45% propane conversion at approximately 93 mol% selectivity to propylene.  The simplicity of the system versus other commercial offerings enables a capital savings greater than 20%.  In addition, the higher conversion at moderate pressure reduces the energy requirement per pound of propylene. 

This new technology can be fully integrated to existing ethylene crackers in parallel with new or existing furnaces.  In this way, a producer can increase production in an existing light hydrocarbon facility with back end C3 splitter capacity or build a new facility with exactly the amount of ethylene and propylene product that is desired based on ethane and propane feeds.  Dow is currently planning a project to implement this technology in an existing cracker at commercial scale and would license the technology upon request.

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