MOSCOW (MRC) -- Honeywell announced that its Honeywell UOP business broke ground on a new manufacturing capacity outside Shanghai to produce materials used to convert methanol from coal into feedstocks for making plastics, a significant milestone to enable China to meet the growing demand for plastics, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.
When it enters production in 2017, the catalyst production line in Zhangjiagang City in Jiangsu Province will produce state-of-the-art catalysts used in Honeywell UOP’s Advanced Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) process technology.
Honeywell UOP developed the MTO process to convert methanol, which can readily be produced from coal or natural gas, into the olefins ethylene and propylene that are the primary chemicals used to manufacture plastics. The heart of the MTO process is a proprietary catalyst that facilitates the conversion of methanol into olefins.
In 2011, Wison Clean Energy Company became the first company to license the Honeywell UOP MTO process, which entered commercial production in 2013. Since that time, seven other companies concluded MTO licensing agreements with Honeywell UOP. The most recent of these was Luxi Chemical Group last December.
While global demand for ethylene and propylene is growing by 4% to 5% per year, China is expected to invest more than USD100 billion in coal-to-chemicals technology by 2020. This would reduce China’s dependence on imported oil for the manufacture of plastic resins, films and fibers that are used to make millions of different products.
Honeywell’s facility in Zhangjiagang opened in 2015. It produces other types of catalysts that are used in Honeywell UOP’s Oleflex process, which converts propane into propylene, and in continuous catalyst regeneration (CCR) Platforming, which is used to produce high-octane gasoline. Over the past five years, Honeywell UOP has licensed its Oleflex technology to 30 producers globally, including 23 in China.
Honeywell UOP has an 80-year history in China, beginning in 1937 when it built one of China’s first refineries in Yumen. It was one of the first American companies invited back to China during the 1970s, to help modernize the Chinese petroleum industry. More recently, Honeywell UOP hydroprocessing and Platforming technology has helped China develop cleaner-burning transportation fuels to combat air pollution.