Published November 2003
In late 1980s, Asahi Chemical developed a new process for production of ethylene carbonate (EC) by reacting ethylene oxide (EO) with carbon dioxide in the presence of a pretreated strong basic anionic exchanger resin Dowex MSA1. Recently, this technology has been extended to a new direction to produce diphenyl carbonate (DPC) via dimethyl carbonate (DMC) by esterexchange reactions of EC with methanol and then phenol. At present, the carbonylation and esterexchange technology are commercially used separately by Oriental Union Chemical and ChiMei-Asahi (Joint venture) in Taiwan, Republic of China.
In this study, we present a review of carbonylation technology for the production of EC, and we will review the esterexchange technology in a separate sequel, PEP Review 02-10. We also present, in this review, a technoeconomic evaluation of the carbonylation process with a production capacity of 80,000 t/yr (176.4 million lb/hr). It requires $48.1 million capital investment for this plant. With unit price of ethylene oxide at 50 ¢/lb, the plant gate cost and product value for EC are 38.2 ¢/lb and 48.1 ¢/lb, respectively