Published October 1969
The original purpose of this project was to study the manufacture of synthetic ethanol. Subsequently, the project was expanded to include isopropanol because of the close relationship of the manufacturing processes.
Early in the work, it was assumed that both direct and indirect hydration processes for producing the alcohols would be evaluated. Although most of the ethanol and isopropanol is still produced by the indirect hydration routes, the attendent low yield, air pollution, corrosion, and high maintenance cost have resulted in current interest being centered on the direct hydration processes. As a consequence, the manufacture of alcohols using the classical, indirect hydration procedure with sulfuric acid is dealt with only briefly.
Technical information for the study was obtained primarily from patents and published literature sources. Some cost information and utility consumptions referred to in the report were supplied by various companies, However, SRI did not have access to the unpublished process diagrams or plans of any company. SRI does not know whether any of the patents used for the design cases also correspond to current commercial installations.
Three SRI process designs, based primarily on patent information, are presented. included is a process for ethanol and two processes for isopropanol.
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