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Chementator: A more-direct route to epichlorohydrin makes its commercial debut

By Chemical Engineering |

Solvay (Brussels, Belgium; edlinks.chemengonline.com/5827-536) is planning to build a new plant for producing epichlorohydrin at its Tavaux, France, site. When the facility starts up in the first half of 2007, it will produce 10,000 m.t./yr of epichlorohydrin using Solvay’s Epicerol process for the first time. Epichlorohydrin is used for making epoxy resins, paper reinforcements and for purifying water, and Solvay says the demand is expected to exceed the existing global production capacity by 2010. Current production of the compound requires a three-step process: First, propylene is reacted with chlorine to make allyl chloride and hydrogen chloride; allyl chloride then reacts with Cl2 and water to form dichloropropanol and HCl; finally, dichloropropanol reacts with sodium hydroxide to form epichlorohydrin and NaCl. In the Epicerol process (details not disclosed), the intermediate dichloropropanol is made in one step by the reaction of glycerine and HCl over a proprietary catalyst, thus avoiding the need to use Cl2. In addition, the process is said to generate less chlorinated byproducts with a “sharp reduction” of water consumption, says the firm. Epicerol has the extra advantage of replacing a hydrocarbon feedstock…
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