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A propane-based AN process makes its commercial debut

By Chemical Engineering |

This fall, Asahi Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. (Tokyo; edlinks.chemengonline.com/6516-541), plans to start up a 70,000-m.t./yr plant for producing acrylonitrile (AN) at its 100% subsidiary Tongsuh Petrochemical Corporation Ltd., (Ulsan, South Korea). The plant will be a renovation of an existing facility, which made AN using the conventional propylene-based (ammoxidation) process, into one that uses Asahi’s propane-based AN technology. After this commercial-scale demonstration, the company plans to advance a joint commercial project to produce AN from propane by constructing a new propane process AN plant having 200,000 m.t./yr capacity in Thailand with PTT Public Co., Ltd. (Bangkok, Thailand), which plans to supply the feedstock propane. Although Asahi Chemical has not revealed details about the new process, its patents explain that a mixture of propane, ammonia, oxygen and inert gases are reacted over a proprietary catalyst composed of metal components (such as Mo, V, Nb, Sn) supported on silica at around 415°C and 1 bar. In laboratory trials performed four years ago, a propane conversion of about 90% was achieved with a 70% selectivity for AN and overall AN yield of 60% (CE, April 2002, p. 17). Since then, the catalyst…
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