Technology Profile: Production of Vinyl Chloride Monomer
By Intratec Solutions |
This column is based on “Vinyl Chloride Production from Ethylene and Chlorine – Cost Analysis,” a report published by Intratec. It can be found at: www.intratec.us/analysis/vinyl-chloride-production-cost.
Vinyl chloride (also known as vinyl chloride monomer, VCM and chloroethene) is an organochloride compound. At room temperature, VCM is a gas with a sweet, ethereal odor, but in industrial processes, it is most often handled as a liquid (melting point = –13°C). VCM is a major commodity chemical, mainly used in the production of the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). For this use alone, VCM is among the top 20 petrochemicals in world production. To a lesser extent, VCM is used in furniture and automobile upholstery, wall coverings, housewares and automotive parts.
Figure 1. The diagram shows a production process for VCM[/caption]
This analysis describes the production of VCM from ethylene and chlorine via a balanced process (Figure 1). The process comprises four major sections: (1) oxychlorination; (2) direct chlorination; (3) ethylene dichloride (EDC) cracking; and (4) purification.
Oxychlorination. Hydrogen chloride (HCl) is reacted with ethylene and oxygen, yielding EDC and water. Oxychlorination is conducted…