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Technology Profile: Ethylene oxide production from ethylene

By Intratec Solutions |

This column is based on “Ethylene Oxide Production from Ethylene – Cost Analysis,” a report published by Intratec. It can be found at: www.intratec.us/analysis/ethylene-oxide-production-cost. Ethylene oxide (also known as EO, oxirane and epoxyethane) is the simplest cyclic ether. Because it is highly reactive, ethylene oxide is one of the most versatile chemical intermediates. It is converted into a wide range of products (for example, monoethylene glycol (MEG), surfactants and glycol ethers). The process The process examined here (Figure 1) is a typical direct oxidation process in which pure oxygen is used as the oxidizing agent. The process consists of three major sections: (1) oxidation; (2) reagents recovery; and (3) product separation. Figure 1. The diagram shows the production of ethylene oxide via direct oxidation of ethylene[/caption] Oxidation. Initially, fresh ethylene, methane make-up and oxygen are mixed with recycle gas (recovered downstream). Methane is used as ballast gas to control flammable limits in the process. The mixture is heated by heat exchange with reactor effluent and fed to a multi-tubular catalytic reactor. There, ethylene oxide is selectively produced over a silver catalyst supported on alumina.…
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