Mitsubishi Chemical Industries (MCI) announced plans in late 1988 to manufacture isononyl alcohols (INA) in 1987 from octenes supplied by General Sekiyu. The MCI process, which produces INA by hydroformylation via isononyl aldehydes uses a rhodium-based catalyst that MCI developed. MCI will not build a new plant for its planned INA production, but will convert a portion of its P-ethylhexanol (2-EH) plant to produce 25,000 metric tonslyr (55 million Ib/yr) of INA.
To assess the commercial potential of this process, we evaluated an INA plant of 100,000 metric tonslyr (220 million Iblyr) capacity based on MCI technology, and compared the economics at that capacity with those of a conventional INA process using a cobalt-based catalyst and, a 2-EH process using a rhodium catalyst.
The total fixed capital for the MCI process is higher than that for the 2-EH process, but only slightly less than for the conventional INA process. At assumed prices of 15�/lb for octenes and 15.8�/lb for propylene, the three processes have essentially the same product value. Higher by-product credits generally off-set higher raw material costs.