Rohm and Haas granted US$5.2 million to develop novel manufacturing process by US DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program has awarded a US$5.2 million grant to Rohm and Haas with support from Engelhard Corporation. This grant will be for developing a major novel manufacturing process that will use propane instead of propylene to manufacture acrylic acid. Together, the companies will spend the next 5 years screening and testing thousands of unique catalysts. If adopted by global acrylic acid and other propylene derivative manufacturers, the novel technology could : Save up to 37 trillion BTUs pa Eliminate almost 7.5 million kgs of environmental pollutants annually Save U.S. industry nearly $1.8 billion by the year 2020. Propane is half the cost of propylene; the switch to propane will yield significant savings in manufacturing costs. The University of Delaware, a partner in the project, will provide computational modeling capabilities. Rohm and Haas will complement its expertise in oxidation catalyst research with Engelhard's innovative approach in the development and application of monolithic catalysts used to control emissions. The two companies will optimize catalyst formulations and develop technology for depositing them onto heat exchangers and other monolithic structures. Technical and commercial success - the ability to cost effectively manufacture acrylic acid directly from propane - depends largely on uncovering the appropriate catalyst system. Worldwide demand for acrylic acid is about 7.5 billion pounds. Acrylic acid is one of the fastest growing commodity chemicals, with worldwide demand increasing at about 4% pa. The project lead to efficiency improvements, and it would deliver significant energy savings as well. From an environmental standpoint, steam crackers and their furnaces require high energy consumption and generate carbon dioxide (COx), nitrogen dioxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SOx) as by-products. By replacing crackers with comparatively small Short Contact Time Reactors, the new technology, if deployed across the propylene value chain, could reduce 2 million pounds of COx, 9 million pounds of NOx and 4 million pounds of SOx emissions.
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