Published March 2003
Product flexibility, low capital investment, and energy efficiency of larger capacity plants will shape the future of the light olefins industry. With propylene demand growing faster than ethylene, combined with the building of more ethane steam crackers, lower-cost alternative routes to propylene production are of high interest in the petrochemical marketplace.
Metathesis reaction offers an opportunity to convert surplus olefins to other desirable olefins. For example, 2-butenes (cis-2-butene and trans-2-butene) can react with ethylene in the presence of a metathesis catalyst to produce propylene while 2-butenes required can be obtained via ethylene dimerization.
This review evaluates a conceptual design for on-purpose propylene production using ethylene as a feedstock by the ethylene dimerization and the Olefins Conversion Technology (OCT), licensed by Lummus Technology. A process description is provided along with an economic analysis, which is based upon a conceptual plant capable of producing 750 million lb/yr or 340,000 metric tons per year of polymer-grade propylene from ethylene. The estimated total fixed capital investment for such a plant at a US Gulf Coast location and the estimated net production cost for polymer-grade propylene are presented in this PEP review.