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Demonstration for a new process to make isobutene

By Gerald Ondrey |

Last month, OMV AG (Vienna, Austria; www.omv.com) commissioned its ISO C4 demonstration isobutene plant at its Burghausen, Germany site. The plant is based on technology developed jointly by OMV and BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com), and has been producing high-purity (up to 99.9%) isobutene since the end of 2020.

The plant is said to have an “exceptional” energy efficiency — up to 80% of the heating energy required for the new process can be met by thermal discharge from an existing associated facility thanks to a heat-integration approach. This saves 20,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, the companies say. A worldwide patent application was filed jointly by the two companies, and the process will now be available to third parties, says BASF.

BASF provides the catalyst and reaction concept that intrinsically fulfills all process requirements by OMV. The new unit for the production of high-purity isobutene, which does not need chemical conversion of isobutene, has been integrated into the existing metathesis plant at OMV’s Burghausen site. The isobutene produced here complements OMV’s existing product portfolio and will be used for manufacturing glues, grease and other chemicals, such as antioxidants, as well as in the production of vitamin C. The plant’s production capacity is 60,000 ton/yr.

Investment volume of this large-scale project, including auxiliary facilities, was €64 million. Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment subsidized €2.8 million toward the ISO C4 plant as part of its environmental innovation program.

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