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Indian Oil Corporation and Celanese to explore world-scale TCX fuel ethanol plant in India

Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) and Celanese Corporation recently signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) to explore the potential of a joint investment in a fuel ethanol plant to be built in India, based on Celanese’s TCX Technology. Celanese is one of the world’s largest producers of acetyl products (intermediate chemicals, such as acetic acid, for nearly all major industries); the company has developed Celanese a process for the direct and selective production of ethanol from acetic acid. (Earlier post.)

Named TCX, the proprietary technology for ethanol production builds on Celanese’s acetyl platform and integrates new technologies to produce ethanol using basic hydrocarbon feedstocks—natural gas, coal and petcoke (petroleum coke) now, with biomass and waste planned for the future.

Celanese says that the advantages of TCX for fuel and industrial ethanol include:

  1. a cost advantage over other feedstock (fermentation routes, from corn and sugarcane) and alternate technologies (such as Fischer-Tropsch GTL);

  2. raw materials flexibility;

  3. high conversion rates;

  4. low energy usage; and

  5. single-location large-scale continuous-process production units.

After the successful commissioning of its own first TCX commercial plant in Nanjing, China in July 2013, Celanese is co-developing several projects with state-owned oil companies in other countries.

The project with IOCL is expected to be located at Paradip in Odisha State of India and will utilize petcoke from Indian Oil’s refineries as the key feedstock. Other potential locations will also be investigated.

The potential investment would create significant value addition by converting petcoke, a by-product in the refining process, to a low-cost, high-octane and clean-burning gasoline blending component (ethanol) and potentially other co-product petrochemical derivatives.

Indian Oil is an Indian Maharatna company with integrated operations in the field of refining, marketing, pipelines, petrochemicals, gas, exploration and production, and R&D activities.

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