Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical Co., Ltd. is using Honeywell UOP's C3 Oleflex™ technology to produce 450,000 metric tpa of polymer-grade propylene for a new petrochemicals complex in China. This is the second C3 Oleflex unit now operating with Satellite. Honeywell UOP, a leading provider of technologies for the oil and gas industry, delivered Satellite's first Oleflex unit in 2014. Oleflex technology is helping to meet the growing demand in China for propylene, a key ingredient in plastics. Oleflex technology has been selected for a majority of dehydrogenation projects globally since 2011, including applications for propane, isobutane, and mixed propane and isobutane feeds. In addition to technology licensing and basic engineering design, Honeywell provided services, equipment, catalysts and adsorbents for the Satellite plant.
"Zhejiang Satellite chose this second Oleflex unit based on the operation of its first unit, which has been running for nearly five years," said Bryan Glover, vice president and general manager of Honeywell UOP's Petrochemicals and Refining Technologies business. "The second unit started up and quickly reached its design capacity, so the two units together now can produce 900,000 metric tons per year of propylene."
Honeywell UOP's C3 Oleflex technology uses catalytic dehydrogenation to convert propane into propylene, the primary component of polypropylene. The technology is designed to have a lower cash cost of production and higher return on investment compared with competing technologies. The technology's impact on the environment is minimized by its low-energy consumption, low-emissions and fully recyclable, platinum-alumina-based catalyst system. The independent reactor and regeneration design of the Oleflex technology help maximize operating flexibility and onstream reliability.
Propylene has historically been produced as a byproduct of refining fuels, but demand for propylene has exceeded the supply from refining processes. Propane dehydrogenation such as the Oleflex process can bridge this gap by producing "on-purpose" propylene from propane that is derived from natural gas as well as from refining processes.