Published December 2019
Propylene is second only to ethylene in size as the largest building block in the chemical industry. Historically, propylene was produced almost exclusively as a co-product in ethylene plants (steam crackers) and refinery operations (primarily fluid catalytic cracking). The supply landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade as propylene output from these traditional sources has slowed relative to demand. The resulting imbalance has led to an increasing reliance on other onpurpose technologies for manufacturing propylene.
Propane dehydrogenation (PDH) is an on-purpose technology that has gained much traction in the marketplace. The global supply of propane continues to expand on the back of shale gas/tight oil production, providing a relatively inexpensive feedstock for propylene production. The number of PDH plants around the world has more than doubled in the last 10 years, and another 10 million metric tons of additional capacity is expected to come online over the next 5 years.
In this report, which serves as an update to Report 267A (published on October 2015), a general review of the PDH technical field is provided along with detailed technoeconomic evaluations for the following PDH technologies:
- Lummus CATOFIN® process
- UOP Oleflex™ process
- thyssenkrupp STAR process®
The analysis and technoeconomic results that follow are based on a design capacity of 750 kMTA of polymer-grade propylene. Alternative capital investment and production cost estimates are also provided for plant capacities of 500 and 1000 kMTA. While the capital investment and production cost results herein are presented on a US Gulf Coast basis, the accompanying iPEP Navigator Excel-based data module (available with the electronic version of this report) allows for the viewing of results for other major regions along with the conversion between English and metric units.