Recovery and In-Process Recycle of Product and Feedstocks for OXO Plant Reactor Purge Gas
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AbstractThe oxo process is an important method of converting inexpensive olefins into valuable oxygenated building blocks. As a result, almost 10 million tons of oxo chemicals are synthesized annually worldwide. All oxo plants produce a reactor purge gas stream that contains 1-2 percent of the feedstocks entering the reactor. This purge gas usually is flared, and the residual feedstocks are lost. Membrane Technology and Research, Inc., proposes to develop a membrane process to separate the reaction product and feedstocks from the purge stream so they can be recycled directly to the reactor. The membrane process will yield a fivefold reduction in the volume of gas that is sent to flare, and will completely pay for system installation from the value of the recovered materials. The Phase I objectives are to develop membranes that are capable of performing the required separations and to design a complete system based on the membrane permeation properties. In the Phase II project, the membrane will be scaled up for bench- and pilot-scale tests. If successfully developed, the process will be adopted widely by oxo plant operators because of the high value of the recovered feedstocks and product. The process also will reduce the environmental impact of these plants by reducing the size of the flare required. Installation of 20-30 units in U.S. oxo plants will recover about 30,000-50,000 tons annually of product and feedstocks. The worldwide market is approximately three times larger.
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