Shandong Chambroad commissions first propylene and isobutylene coproduction plant in China

Shandong Chambroad Holding Co Ltd has become the first company in China to commission a combined C3/C4 (propylene and isobutylene) dehydrogenation unit to meet growing demand in Asia for plastics, high-octane gasoline and synthetic rubber. The new unit, which is the first of three in China, uses Honeywell UOP’s C3/C4 Oleflex process technology to produce propylene (C3), a building block for making plastics, packaging and synthetic fibre, and isobutylene (C4), a component used for high-octane gasoline and synthetic rubber. The unit, which is only the second of its kind in the world, successfully started up in May and all production targets have been accepted. Two other Chinese producers have also licensed the technology for start-up in 2017.

As the demand for transportation fuels and petrochemicals continues to grow in China, petrochemical companies there see a real benefit from integrating processes. The start-up of the first combined C3/C4 Oleflex unit in China is a milestone in the region’s petrochemical production, and it will help Chambroad manage market conditions more efficiently, said Mike Millard, vice president and general manager of Honeywell UOP’s process technology and equipment business.

China consumes more than 15 percent of the world’s propylene and its demand is growing more than 4 percent per year, according to the US Energy Information Administration. At the same time, gasoline demand is expected to grow in China as a result of a growing middle class and higher car sales.

Honeywell UOP’s C3/C4 Oleflex technology uses catalytic dehydrogenation to convert propane to propylene and isobutane to isobutylene. Using mixed dehydrogenation, the processes are combined to produce both materials in a single unit. The technology is proven to have the lowest cash cost of production and the highest return on investment compared with competing technologies.

Located in Binzhou City, Shandong Province, the new unit will produce 1,16,000 metric tonnes per year of propylene and 1,04,000 metric tonnes per year of isobutylene.

Honeywell UOP’s C3/C4 Oleflex technology has also been licensed by two other Chinese producers. Dongming Petrochemical Group will produce 265,000 metric tonnes per year of propylene and isobutylene, and Dongying Liyuan will produce 220,000 metric tonnes per year of propylene and isobutylene using the process. Both facilities also will use Honeywell UOP’s Butamer process, which converts normal butane into isobutane to increase feedstock flexibility for the Oleflex process.

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