The Urethane Blog

Dow Propane DeHydrogenation Expansion

US Dow to retrofit Louisiana cracker for on-purpose propylene

Author: Stefan Baumgarten


HOUSTON  (ICIS)–Dow will retrofit proprietary fluidised catalytic dehydrogenation (FCDh) technology into one of its mixed-feed crackers in Plaquemine, Louisiana, to produce on-purpose propylene, the US-based chemicals major said on Tuesday.

The retrofit will enable production of more than 100,000 tonnes/year of additional on-purpose propylene at full run-rate, further back-integrating Dow’s derivative facilities to cost-advantaged propylene while also maintaining the unit’s current ethylene production capacity, the company said.

The project is expected to begin producing on-purpose propylene by the end of 2021.

Dow said the retrofit would enable it to meet growing demand for its businesses serving consumer, infrastructure and packaging end-markets, while also remaining within its stated near-term capital expenditure targets, it said.

In 2016, Dow expanded the ethylene capacity of this same cracker by more than 225,000 tonnes/year and added the ability to crack ethane, while maintaining the flexibility to crack propane, butane and naphtha.

Dow and other US cracker operators are consuming more ethane instead of heavier feed slates, resulting in a reduction of co-product production, including propylene.

This reduction in propylene has created a supply/demand gap in the US that requires additional on-purpose propylene sources to meet the needs of downstream derivatives, Dow said.

FCDh technology is seen as one of the most economical propane dehydrogenation (PDH) technologies available today.

It can be used to construct a stand-alone PDH facility or can be integrated with existing crackers to provide “plug and play” capabilities for a variety of plant configurations, Dow said.

“Deploying FCDh technology supports Dow’s continued focus on delivering low-risk, low-cost and high-return projects while reducing the energy intensity and carbon footprint associated with conventional technologies,” said Keith Cleason, vice president of Dow’s Olefins, Aromatics & Alternatives business.