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New oxocatalyst demonstrated for vinyl chloride monomer production

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Recently, Tosoh Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; www.tosoh.com) has applied a new, proprietary oxocatalyst in the oxychlorination process for making ethylene dichloride (EDC) from ethylene, HCl, and O2 in its vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) manufacturing process. The performance boost anticipated from simulation studies of the new catalyst has been confirmed at some of the company’s VCM plants, which have a production capacity of 500,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr). Tosoh first began operating a VCM plant in the 1960s using a proprietary oxychlorination process. Since then, the company has worked to improve the oxycatalysts. Ethylene oxychlorination over a CuCl2-KCl/Al2O3 catalyst in a commercial scale plant was examined for two consecutive years, during which the performance of the catalyst gradually deteriorated. The spent catalyst exhibited signs of deterioration, such as an increase in the K-to-Cu ratio induced by CuCl sublimation. In order to clarify how such changes in the catalyst component affect deactivation, kinetic studies and XANES ((x-ray absorption near-edge structure) analysis were carried out, and showed that an increased oxidation number of Cu elevated the activation energy of the oxychlorination catalyst. This change in activation…
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