Published October 1974
The greatest problem in alpha-olefin processes, either by ethylene oligomerization or by wax cracking, has been the production of wide-range products (C, to C3C+) that are difficult to market at profitable levels. One solution to this problem has been the so-called "modified" polymerization process that subjects lower olefins to further growth reaction to the detergent-range olefins. The higher olefins, however, have been impossible to convert to the desirable olefins. The detergent-range alpha olefins (Cl2 to Ca,) command the highest value and the demand for them is expected to grow extensively in the future because of the increased concern over water pollution.
According to recent patents to Shell Oil Company, a new process is reported for the selective production of the detergent-range olefins, In this process, both lower and higher alpha olefins produced by ethylene oligomerization are converted to the detergent-range olefins by isomerization and disproportionation. This process is evaluated in detail in this report.
Extensive research has recently been directed toward the development of the new alpha olefin processes by low-temperature ethylene oligomerization with catalysts other than aluminum alkyls. These processes are also reviewed in this report.
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