Published December 2018
Formaldehyde is currently the largest chemical derivate of methanol worldwide. The extreme reactivity of the formaldehyde carbonyl group and the nature of the molecule as a basic building block have made formaldehyde an important commercial feedstock for a variety of industrially important chemical compounds. Historically, formaldehyde has found its largest volume (nearly 70%) of world consumption in the manufacture of urea-formaldehyde, phenol-formaldehyde, and melamine formaldehyde resins.
World consumption of formaldehyde (at 37 wt% concentration) is forecasted to grow at an average annual rate of approximately 2.5% from 2017–22. Northeast Asia, and China in particular, continues to add capacity for formaldehyde, reigning as the largest producer globally. Between 2012 and 2017, world capacity of formaldehyde grew at an average annual rate of 2.7%. Global capacity for 37 wt% formaldehyde increased by approximately 9.2 million metric tons during 2012–17, largely in Asia.
This report presents a technoeconomic assessment of four such methanol-based production technologies for 300 million lbs/yr of 37 wt% formaldehyde solution (50,000 MTA of 100% formaldehyde):
- BASF oxidation-dehydrogenation by silver catalyst technology
- Dynea oxidation-dehydrogenation by silver catalyst technology
- D.B. Western (Foremark Performance Chemicals) catalytic oxidation of methanol by metal oxide catalyst technology
- Johnson Matthey FORMOX™ catalytic oxidation of methanol by metal oxide catalyst technology
BASF is one of the leading producers of formaldehyde. Its technology is used widely, usually through subsidiaries, joint ventures, or other equity arrangements.
Dynea is also a leading producer of formaldehyde with its proven FASIL silver catalyst formaldehyde technology, with more than 60 years of experience in process development, design, and operation of formaldehyde silver plants.
D.B. Western, a leading technology-driven producer of formaldehyde and derivatives, is one of the major US producers of iron-molybdenum oxide–based technology. The company was acquired in June of 2017 by SK Capital Partners, which renamed D.B. Western as Foremark Performance Chemicals.
Johnson Matthey, with its FORMOX™ technology, is also a major US producer of iron-molybdenum oxide–based technology, and is the world’s largest supplier of oxide catalyst for use in formaldehyde production.
The online version of this report includes an interactive iPEP Navigator module to provide a snapshot of the process economics and allow the user to select the units and global region of interest.