MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow and Evonik have recently entered into an exclusive technology partnership. Together, they plan to bring a unique method for directly synthesizing propylene glycol (PG) from propylene and hydrogen peroxide to market maturity, according to Kemicalinfo.
The basis for the method, named HYPROSYN, has been created over the last few years by a team of over 100 Evonik employees. The key element is a novel catalytic system developed by Evonik researchers which allows for the direct synthesis of PG from propylene and hydrogen peroxide, in a process offering high yield and comparatively low energy consumption.
The total production of propylene glycol was 1.9 million metric worldwide in 2018. The molecule is used in the production of polyester resins and as a de-icing agent. It is also an important food additive and serves as a humectant and co-surfactant in many products in the home and personal care market.
"We are very pleased to be cooperating with Dow to bring the HYPROSYN process to market maturity. Dow is by far the largest producer of PG worldwide and a world leader in the field of material science. Dow’s technical and market experience will be invaluable in the scale up of our development” says Michael Traxler, the head of Evonik’s Active Oxygens business line.
A pilot plant is to be constructed at the Evonik site in Hanau by the end of 2020, with large-scale technical implementation to follow a few years later. "We believe that the new HYPROSYN direct synthesis technology will enable a more competitive route to produce PG with an improved environmental profile, providing us greater flexibility in serving our customers” says Andrew Jones, global business director for Propylene Oxide, Propylene Glycol, Chlor-Alkali and Vinyl at Dow.
"In addition to potential license revenue, this partnership also demonstrates how we create new areas of application for hydrogen peroxide and positions us as a preferred provider," said Traxler. In recent years, the molecule has become established as an important oxidizing agent for chemical synthesis - not least as a result of the HPPO process for the production of propylene oxide.
Evonik is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hydrogen peroxide, one of the two starting materials for the HYPROSYN process. The company’s 13 production sites distributed throughout the world ensure an optimal supply of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) with an annual capacity of more than 950,000 metric tons.
As MRC reported earlier, Dow plans to install a new furnace in its steam cracker at Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, increasing its ethylene capacity, currently 1.42 million metric tons/year (MMt/y), by 130,000 metric tons/year. Dow will split the cost of the project and the incremental volume equally with an unnamed regional customer, according to CEO Jim Fitterling, who announced the news during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call. Start-up is slated for the first half of 2021.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,093,260 tonnes in 2019, up by 6% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. PE shipments rose from both domestic producers and foreign suppliers. The estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 1,260,400 tonnes in January-December 2019, up by 4% year on year. Supply of almost all grades of propylene polymers increased, except for statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers).
The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber.
Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The focus on more specialty businesses, customer-oriented innovative prowess and a trustful and performance-oriented corporate culture form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. They are the lever for profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company. Evonik benefits specifically from its customer proximity and leading market positions. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world with more than 36,000 employees.