Chinese petrochemical company Lutianhua Group Inc. is planning to build a plant capable of producing 1 million tonnes of dimethyl ether (DME) per year in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The plant would be the world’s largest DME facility to date.
Lutianhua Group has already signed a technology licensing agreement with Japan’s Toyo Engineering, and has applied to the Chinese government for permission for the plant. Toyo expects to obtain the plant order soon, according to a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
The partners, Lutianhua and Toyo, expect to receive permission during the first half of 2007. Toyo will oversee the design of the DME plant and supply the catalyst used in DME production.
Construction of the plant will cost an estimated ¥80-100 billion (US$673-841 million). Lutianhua hopes to have the plant up and running in 2010. The plan is to pipe the DME to large cities like Beijing for use as a fuel. A number of projects in China are exploring the use of DME for power generation and as a diesel fuel substitute.
In September, Shanxi Lanhua Clean Energy Co. awarded Toyo a contract for the licensing, process design, and supply of catalysts and technological services for a 153,000 tonnes/year coal-based dimethyl ether (DME) production facility.
In 2003, Toyo constructed a 10,000 ton/year DME plant in Sichuan Province in China for Lutianhua, which was the first in the world to produce DME commercially for fuel use. Thereafter, TOYO was awarded a 110,000 ton/year DME plant (put into operation in March 2006) also located in Sichuan Province as the second unit, and a 210,000 ton/year unit (to be completed in 2007) located in Ningxia in northwestern China as the third DME plant.
Toyo has modelled out a Jumbo DME plant capable of producing 2.4 million tonnes of DME per year.
Fuel DME Plant in East Asia (Toyo paper given at 15th Saudi-Japan Joint Symposium, 2005)