Total Petrochemicals, IFP Energies nouvelles and Axens to co-develop bio-ethylene production technology by dehydration of ethanol

Share this article

Total Petrochemicals, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) and its subsidiary Axens announce an alliance with the objective to develop a new optimized technology for the production of bioethylene by dehydration of ethanol.

The proprietary technology will address large-scale units and the quality of the monomers will be in line with modern derivative production processes.

Based on Total Petrochemicals original proprietary catalyst development, this new technology will open the way to a competitive production of bio-ethylene from renewable resources with lower energy consumption and lower CO2 emissions. Bio-ethylene could be integrated in various polymer applications such as polyethylene (PE), polyethyleneteraphthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS), polyvinylchloride (PVC) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) in existing unmodified downstream polymerization installations.

The goal of this co-development is to implement a new generation of catalysts, envisioning the highest possible carbon-yield for ethylene and to use advanced techniques to minimize energy consumption for the production of polymer-grade ethylene. Within the agreement, Total will continue its work on the optimization of the catalyst formulation at the research center in Feluy, Belgium. IFPEN will complete the process development at its Lyon site, France. Axens will finalize this development and prepare the technology for commercialization by ensuring the industrial catalyst manufacturing and by providing all process licensing related services to Total Petrochemicals and other potential customers worldwide. It is expected that the technology will be ready for industrial implementation around end of 2011.

The Alliance is also covering other olefinic monomers production from bio-derived higher alcohols which will be developed in parallel within the same technology platform. “With this new approach we will be able to respond to a growing demand for plastics based on renewable raw-materials. Efficient alcohol dehydration will broaden the commercial potential of all the ongoing developments in the production of second generation bio-based alcohols and contribute to sustainable application of such forms of bio-based feedstock”, said Bernadette Spinoy, Total Petrochemicals Senior Vice President Base Chemicals.