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Axens, Total and IFPEN launch Atol, an Innovative Technology for Bio-Ethylene Production Through Dehydration of Bio-Ethanol

MARCH 25 - 2014
Bio-Ethylene Production Through Bio-Ethanol

Atol® is a technology for the most profitable production of polymer grade bio-ethylene by dehydration of 1G and 2G-renewable ethanol. The bio-ethylene produced can be integrated in existing downstream polymerization installations such as polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), polyethyleneteraphthalate (PET), polyvinylchloride (PVC) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) without need for modifications.

Atol® is the result of a partnership between Total, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) and its affiliate Axens that started in 2011. Within this cooperation, Total developed a high performance catalyst formulation at its research Center in Feluy, Belgium, IFPEN scaled up catalyst performance within a heat recovery innovative process while Axens industrialized the catalyst formulation and finalized the process scheme with particular focus on energy-efficiency. Total and IFPEN are the co-owners of the technology and Axens is now in charge of commercializing Atol® by providing all process licensing related services and catalyst manufacturing.

Atol® is believed to be the most advanced dehydration technology and features the highest profitability as a result of:

  • Lower Capex by simplified product purification brought on by the outstanding performances of the ATO 201 catalyst which exhibits a high activity and selectivity towards ethylene
  • The robustness of its catalyst which copes with any variation in feedstock quality
  • The highly integrated process scheme which greatly reduces operating costs
  • Significant potential to be integrated with both upstream ethanol production and downstream ethylene conversion

Atol® is the first of a series of technologies, for the production of other olefinic monomers by processing bio-derived higher alcohols, to be developed in parallel based on Atol’s technology platform.

“We are very excited about this efficient and competitive technology that will be able to meet a growing demand for plastics based on renewable raw-materials. This offer is in line with our strategy to become a leading company in the field of technology for bio-based production of Motor Fuels and Chemicals”, said Christian Dupraz, Axens Senior Executive Vice-President Process Licensing.

“For Total, such collaboration with a reputable research team (IFPEN) and a licensor (Axens), presents a significant lever to bring innovative technologies, driven by a fast-moving bio-market, to commercial readiness. This achievement can now open opportunities for industrial projects.”highlights François-Xavier Cormerais, Total’s Vice-President Research & Development (Refining & Petrochemicals).

 “IFPEN is delighted that this exemplary partnership project has opened the way to a bio-ethylene competitive technology that is now ready for industrial implementation”, said Pascal Barthélemy, Executive Vice-President of IFP Energies nouvelles.