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Technology Profile: Propylene Oxide Production

By Intratec Solutions |

This column is based on “Propylene Oxide from Propylene and Chlorine – Cost Analysis,” a report published by Intratec. It can be found at: www.intratec.us/analysis/propylene-oxide-e11a. Propylene oxide (PO) is a highly reactive commodity compound that serves as a starting material for several widely used products, from polymers and solvents to industrial fluids. Historically, PO has been produced by the so-called chlorohydrin process, which is further described in this article. Currently, new production technologies that generate less waste are starting to replace the chlorohydrin production process.   Figure 1. The process diagram here shows the production of propylene oxide from propylene and chlorine[/caption] The process The following describes a typical chlorohydrin process for PO production from propylene and chlorine (Figure 1). Hypochlorination. Initially, fresh, gaseous polymer-grade propylene and chlorine are mixed with water to form an aqueous solution. Such compounds react to produce a propene-chloronium complex, an intermediate that reacts with water to yield hydrochloric acid and propylene chlorohydrin (PCH) isomers. The gaseous effluent from the reactor is fed to a separator, which separates a solution…
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