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Comment Processing & Handling

New process for monoethylene glycol completes pilot stage

By Scott Jenkins |

A new process for producing monoethylene glycol (MEG) from synthesis-gas-based feedstocks is nearing completion of extensive pilot plant operation, according to developers Eastman Chemical Co. (Kingsport, Tenn.; www.eastman.com) and Johnson Matthey Davy Technologies Ltd. (London, U.K.; www.davyprotech.com). The technology enables MEG production from a variety of raw materials, including coal, natural gas and biomass, and is based on new proprietary catalysts and process design developed by the two companies. While details were not divulged, the two-stage, single-line process differs from other synthesis-gas-based technologies recently developed for ethylene glycol because it does not go through an oxalate intermediate, explains Bruce Gustafson, director of international ventures at Eastman Chemical. “Our advanced technology can enable customers to be in the 1st or 2nd quartile of the cash cost curve for MEG production,” Gustafson says, adding, “however, in regions offering low-cost syngas and methanol from shale gas or stranded coal or natural gas, we see our process as offering the lowest cash cost route.” MEG is a key industrial chemical and building block in the production of polyesters for fiber and packaging…
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