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Hubei Sanning to use Honeywell hydrogen technology to produce plastics from coal

By Gerald Ondrey |

Honeywell says that Hubei Sanning Chemical Industry Co. will use Honeywell UOP’s (Des Plaines, Ill.; www.uop.com) Polybed pressure-swing adsorption (PSA) technology to supply high-quality hydrogen at its monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant at Zhijiang in China’s Hubei Province.


The Hubei Sanning plant will use the hydrogen to produce MEG — commonly used to make polyester resins, films and fibers — manufactured from coal. The new PSA unit is designed to generate 165,000 m3/h of hydrogen.


“This is the first application in China of the Honeywell UOP PSA technology in an MEG  chemical plant,” says Henry Liu, regional general manager for Honeywell UOP China. “It demonstrates the flexibility of Honeywell UOP’s hydrogen technologies in a wide range of uses, including chemical manufacturing.”


Hubei Sanning chose the Honeywell UOP technology due to its proven reliability, superior economics, and fast delivery and start up schedule. The technology also features new UOP adsorbents that recover hydrogen at very high levels. As a result, the PSA unit can generate hydrogen with purities as high as 99.9999%, making it an excellent source for the production of high-quality monoethylene glycol.


The new PSA technology will help Hubei Sanning, which is located near the Yangtze River, meet new environmental regulations. It also is part of the company’s plan to modernize its production technology to high-pressure gasification and accommodate a new 600,000-ton/yr MEG plant that is scheduled to begin operations next year.


China is rich in coal with reserves of nearly 300 billion tons but imports more than 8 million barrels of oil per day, about a tenth of which is converted into petrochemicals. In China, coal is an increasingly attractive alternative to oil as a petrochemical feedstock. Coal is gasified with water to produce synthesis gas, which is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Each of these components are purified and used in different stages to produce monoethylene glycol.

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