Published February 1989
Linear alkylbenzene (LAB) is a detergent intermediate that is first sulfonated to form linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS) before being converted into final formulated surfactant products. LAS is the main ingredient in household detergents.
LAB is made from n-paraffins and benzene by one of three synthesis routes. Firstly, it can be made by chlorinating n-paraffins and directly reacting the chlorinated products with benzene using aluminum chloride catalyst. The second route produces olefins from paraffins by monochlorination and dehydrochlorination, followed by hydrofluoric acid (HF) catalyzed benzene alkylation. Alternatively, it can be produced by dehydrogenation of n-paraffins to olefins, followed by benzene alkylation with olefins using HF catalyst. This review evaluates the technology and economics of an SRI conceptual design for this latter process based primarily on UOP patents.
Technology for converting n-paraffins to LAB includes three major catalytic processing operations, namely, dehydrogenation, selective hydrogenation, and alkylation. Capital and operating costs have been estimated for a typically sized 110 million Ib/yr (50,000 t/yr) facility located at the U.S. Gulf Coast.