Published December 2007
Succinic acid is a useful C4 dicarboxylic acid. Succinic acid and its derivatives are used in polyester polyols, coatings and plasticizers (R0713001). It is a useful intermediate for the production of gamma–butyrolactone and 1,4-butanediol. PEP Report 236, Chemicals from Renewable Resources discusses a route under development for the production of succinic acid via fermentation. PEP review 95-1-4R, Butanediol from N-Butane via Maleic Acid Hydrogenation details a process for the production of 1,4 butanediol from maleic acid where succinic acid is an intermediate. Succinic acid is most commonly produced by hydrogenation of maleic anhydride or maleic acid or recovered from a byproduct stream in the production of adipic acid. Invista and Solutia are two examples of adipic acid producers (R0713002, R0713003).
In this review PEP analyzes the technology and economics for the production of succinic acid via hydrogenation of maleic anhydride for an 82.7 million lb/yr (37,500 t/yr) plant at a US Gulf Coast location. This work is based on Bayer patents for the hydrogenation technology.
This review should be of interest to producers of maleic anhydride, succinic anhydride and succinic acid and their derivatives such as gamma-butyrolactone and 1,4 butanediol.