Comment Processing & Handling

A low-cost way to make propylene oxide without chlorine or wastewater

By Mary Page Bailey |

Chemetry Corp. (Moss Landing, Calif.; www.chemetrycorp.com) is piloting a hybrid electrochemical-catalysis process for making propylene oxide (PO) that eliminates some of the major production hurdles associated with chlorohydrin-based PO production. “The traditional chlorohydrin process produces about 47 tons of wastewater per ton of product. With our process, we are able to eliminate this wastewater stream, producing effectively nothing,” says Ryan Gilliam, Chemetry CEO, also highlighting the fact that the process requires no chlorine gas and also offers a dramatic reduction in energy consumption. Chemetry’s integrated pilot facility has been ramping up production in recent months, and now produces around 50 kg/d of PO. According to Gilliam, the technology is economically promising not only for existing PO producers who want to expand or retrofit their capacity, but also for locations where building a smaller-scale commercial plant is more economical than purchasing or importing PO. Chemetry’s PO pilot plant (Source: Chemetry)[/caption] Fundamentally, the closed-loop process (diagram) employs copper bromine salts, which are recycled between the electrochemical unit and the catalysis units to convert propylene and oxygen…
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