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New PDH capability A new catalyst for propane dehydrogenation (PDH) that does not include precious metals has been developed by KBR Inc. (Houston, Tex.; www.kbr.com). The new catalyst is incorporated into KBR’s new PDH technology, known as K-PRO, which was announced in late December. K-PRO is based on the company’s catalytic olefins technology, which is designed to convert low-value olefinic, paraffinic and mixed streams into propylene and ethylene. According to KBR, K-PRO offers high propylene selectivity and conversion in PDH applications. K-PRO is also said to deliver significant capital cost (20–30% in internal studies) and operating cost advantages when compared with conventional designs. The savings arise from a fluidized-bed design, which is more efficient than existing fixed or moving-bed reactors. Plants based on the new K-PRO technology will be designed as stand-alone propylene production units independent of a steam cracker or a fluid-catalytic cracking (FCC) unit. Additionally, existing PDH operating units can be easily modified to benefit from the superior process performance and lower operating cost, KBR says.
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