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TheStreet Open House

Honeywell's UOP Helping Meet Petrochemicals Demand In China With Breakthrough Coal-to-Plastics Technology

DES PLAINES, Ill., June 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- UOP LLC, a Honeywell (NYSE: HON) company, announced today that its licensee, China's Wison ( Nanjing) Clean Energy Co. Ltd., has produced more than 360 million pounds of  light olefins at a plant in Nanjing, China, using UOP's breakthrough methanol-to-olefins (MTO) process technology.

The plant, the first commercial-scale facility to use the UOP/Hydro MTO process technology, has been operating since September 2013 and is successfully meeting expectations for the quality and quantity of light olefins, as well as other performance criteria.

"MTO technology allows countries and regions that are rich in coal or natural gas to cost-effectively and efficiently convert those resources into high yields of valuable petrochemicals to meet growing world demand," said Pete Piotrowski, senior vice president and general manager of Honeywell's UOP Process Technology and Equipment business unit. "Our technology offers the lowest operating cost, quick and efficient start-up, and operational reliability. Wison is the first of four manufacturers that have licensed UOP MTO technology, and we continue to see great interest in this technology in China and elsewhere."

The Wison facility is using UOP's Advanced MTO process that combines the UOP/Hydro MTO process and the Total/UOP Olefin Cracking process. The combination significantly increases yields and feedstock efficiency. The process converts methanol, which can be derived from low-cost raw materials such as coal or natural gas, into ethylene and propylene. Based on proprietary UOP catalysts, the Advanced MTO process provides high yields with low operating costs. MTO also offers flexibility in the ratio of propylene to ethylene produced, so operators can adjust plant operations to most effectively address market demands.

The Wison plant, designed by Wison Engineering, the largest private sector chemical engineering, procurement and construction management (EPC) service provider in China, has an annual production capacity of 300,000 metric tons per year of ethylene and propylene. UOP provided technology licenses, basic engineering, catalysts, adsorbents, specialty equipment, and technical services for the plant. 

"This new production facility is an important milestone for the technology, Wison and China, facilitating the coal-to-chemicals industry development roadmap in China," said Liu Haijun, senior vice president and executive director of Wison Engineering. "The close cooperation between Wison Engineering and UOP on the technological front has pushed forward the development of MTO technology and the upgrading of the modern coal-to-chemicals industry."

The UOP/Hydro MTO process technology was successfully demonstrated in a semi-commercial-scale unit built and operated by Ineos (then Norsk-Hydro). The Total-UOP OCP process technology was developed jointly by UOP and Total Petrochemicals and demonstrated in an integrated MTO-OCP semi-commercial-scale unit built and operated by Total in Feluy, Belgium.

Since 2011, UOP has announced four licenses for MTO technology in China. Shandong Yangmei Hengtong Chemicals Co. Ltd., expected to start up later this year, will use the technology to produce 295,000 metric tons per year of ethylene and propylene, and Jiutai Energy (Zhungeer) Co., expected to start up in 2015, will use it to produce 600,000 metric tons per year of ethylene and propylene.

Jiangsu Sailboat Petrochemical Chemicals is also building what is expected to be the largest single-train MTO unit in the world, producing 833,000 metric tons of ethylene and propylene per year.

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