The Urethane Blog

Wanhua Propane to Propylene

Yantai Wanhua deploys Honeywell UOP’s technology for propane conversion

Yantai Wanhua Polyurethanes Group has deployed Honeywell UOP’s C3 Oleflex process technology to convert propane into 750,000mt per annum (mtpa) of propylene in China.

Propylene is a primary component used in the manufacture of plastics, packaging and synthetic fibres.

With this operation of this unit, the global production capacity of Oleflex technology has now touched around 6.8 million mtpa.

Honeywell UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment business vice president and general manager Mike Millard said: “As China’s largest Oleflex unit, this represents a significant expansion in the country’s propylene capacity and a big step toward meeting local demand for propylene.”

Around 70% of the world’s propylene is traditionally produced from petroleum as a by-product of making ethylene, which is another component used in plastics.

Recent years have seen ethylene producers increasingly producing ethylene from ethane in natural gas, which generates a negligible amount of propylene.

“Around 70% of the world’s propylene is traditionally produced from petroleum as a by-product of making ethylene.”

This shift in ethylene production has caused a gap in supply of propylene, leading to investments in facilities that produce on-purpose propylene using Honeywell UOP technology.

China’s consumption of propylene in the world is more than 15% and its demand is growing more than 4% a year, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Since 2011, Honeywell UOP’s Oleflex technology has been selected for 40 of the 47 new propane and isobutane dehydrogenation projects licensed worldwide.

Honeywell UOP’s C3 Oleflex technology uses catalytic dehydrogenation to convert propane to propylene.

It is claimed to have the lowest cash cost of production and the highest return on investment as against competing technologies.

Alongside technology licensing, Honeywell UOP offered the engineering design, equipment, staff training, technical service and catalyst for the project.

The Oleflex unit is part of a large complex that also comprises Honeywell UOP LPG hydrotreating technology, a Butamer C4 isomerisation unit, and pressure swing adsorption (PSA) units to generate high-purity hydrogen.