UOP Ltd., a Honeywell company, announced today that its UOP KLP technology has been selected to boost yields at Romania’s largest synthetic rubber production facility.
Romania’s Energy Bio-Chemicals will use the UOP KLP process to purify butadiene, a monomer used to produce synthetic rubber, at the company’s CAROM Onesti Styrene Butadiene Rubber facility. The project is part of the company’s modernization investment program to upgrade their butadiene installation and increase production.
Butadiene demand—driven by growth in the replacement tire industry, and electronics and consumer markets—exceeded supply by 170 thousand metric tons in 2011, according to the May 2012 Chemsystem Nexant report. Currently, Europe and the Middle East together are responsible for more than a quarter of the global butadiene demand.
As global demand for tires continues to grow, UOP’s technology allows producers to maximize yields with nearly 100 percent conversion of vinyl acetylene to butadiene.—Pete Piotrowski, vice president and general manager of Honeywell’s UOP Process Technology and Equipment business unit
The KLP process increases the yield of butadiene, while also eliminating acetylene, a difficult-to-handle and unwanted byproduct, from the process. UOP will also provide a proprietary Caustic Merox unit to remove sulphur from the crude C4 feedstock. The contract includes licensing, engineering, technical support and catalysts.
Butadiene is a major petrochemical commodity used in the production of tires and other products in the automobile or appliance industry. Polymer-grade butadiene must be high purity and free of acetylenes, sulfur and other heavy components.
Honeywell’s UOP KLP process selectively adds hydrogen to acetylenes in a facility’s crude butadiene stream, typically providing an additional 1.5 to 2% increase in butadiene yields compared with alternative solvent removal methods not employing UOP’s KLP process. In addition, elimination of the acetylenes typically provides a 1 to 3% increase in Raff-1 product yield. Raff-1 is another valuable byproduct of butadiene extraction processes, containing C4 olefins such as isobutylene and butene-1.
UOP’s process also enables safer operations by eliminating concentrated acetylene streams, which can become an explosion hazard. The KLP process can be used in new installations or in retrofit applications to increase product quality and yields by eliminating the costly first-stage extractive distillation step of two-stage butadiene extraction processes.
Currently, eight KLP units are in operation worldwide with a production capacity of more than 1 million metric tons annually.