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Methanol-to-Olefins Process

By Chemical Engineering |

Ethylene and propylene are the most important intermediates in the petrochemical industry. Globally, they are produced mainly by steam cracking of hydrocarbons, such as naphtha, propane and ethane. The methanol-to-olefins (MTO) process is an alternative approach to producing these light olefins from methanol feedstock, which can be derived from other raw materials, including natural gas, coal or biomass. The process Figure 1 illustrates an MTO process similar to one developed jointly by UOP LLC (Des Plaines, Ill.; www.uop.com) and Norsk Hydro A/S (Oslo, Norway; www.hydro.com). This process synthesizes olefins from methanol using a SAPO-34-type zeolite catalyst in a fluidized-bed reactor. The process can be divided into three main areas: reaction and regeneration; quench, compression and caustic wash; and product fractionation. Figure 1. Methanol-to-olefins technology similar to UOP/Hydro MTO process Reaction and regeneration. Methanol feed is vaporized, mixed with recovered methanol, superheated and sent to the fluidized-bed reactor. In the reactor, methanol is first converted to a dimethylether (DME) intermediate and then converted to olefins with a very high selectivity for ethylene and propylene. During the reaction, coke accumulates…
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