Chinese Plant to Use Honeywell Coal-to-Plastics Technology in Place of Oil
Honeywell has announced that Nanjing Chengzhi Yongqing Energy Technology Co. Ltd. will build its second Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) process unit, which converts methanol from coal and other sources into the olefins that are the essential ingredients for making plastics.
The new unit, located in the provincial capital of Nanjing, will have a capacity of 600,000 metric tons per year -- nearly double the capacity of Chengzhi's existing unit which went into service in 2013.
"Honeywell UOP's MTO technology is a proven and growing process in China, where more than $100 billion is expected to be invested in coal-to-chemicals technology in the next five years," John Gugel, vice-president and general manager of UOP's Process Technology and Equipment business, said in a statement.
"This technology has the highest yield of olefins with the lowest consumption of methanol and catalysts, as well as the lowest operating and capital costs of any MTO solution."
MTO produces olefins including ethylene and propylene—the two most widely used components to make plastics—and butadiene precursors that are used to make rubber products. Demand for these olefins is expected to grow by six to seven per cent per year for the next decade, driven by strong demand for plastics and other chemicals. Much of this demand will be met by domestic production from resources in China, including MTO technology.
These components traditionally have been derived from crude oil. For regions lacking domestic sources of oil, the Advanced MTO Technology allows for the use of other more economical feedstocks such as coal and natural gas.
Honeywell UOP's MTO process converts methanol from coal and natural gas into ethylene and propylene. At the heart of the technology are UOP's proprietary catalysts, which make it possible to efficiently adjust the ratio of propylene and ethylene produced so operators can most effectively meet demand for those products, Honeywell said.
Chengzhi, formerly known as Wison Clean Energy, was the first licensee of UOP's MTO technology, which went into operation in 2013. Wison Clean Energy was acquired by the investment arm of the Tsinghua University in 2016.
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