Propylene oxide is the main raw material for obtaining propylene glycol and different types of polyurethanes. Propylene glycol is used in the production of unsaturated ester resin to create glass-fibre plastic. Polyurethanes are used to obtain soft foam for the furniture and automotive industries, as well as rigid foams for the production of electrical appliances and heat insulation.
The total world production of propylene oxide in 2012 was over 10 million tonnes per year. Global demand for propylene oxide is increasing by 4-5% every year.
Himtek Engineering has developed a completely new technology, without analogues in Russia, for obtaining propylene oxide by direct epoxidation of propylene with hydrogen peroxide (HPPO technology).
The process is conducted at a pressure of 1.5 MPa and temperature up to 60 °С on a fixed heterogenous catalyst of titanium silicate (TS-1/SiO2) in a cascade of two column type adiabatic reactors with a film liquid flow in a methanol medium. Total hydrogen peroxide conversion is 98.6%, and the selectivity of propylene oxide for hydrogen peroxide is 92.3%. Methoxypropanols and propylene glycol are by-products. Propylene oxide separation is performed by extractive rectification.
Propylene oxide production consists of the following stages:
- Propylene oxide synthesis.
- Propylene distillation.
- Propylene oxide separation.
- Methanol distillation and waste water treatment.
Advantages of the technology:
- Low temperature and pressure.
- Low output of by-products.
- Low material and energy costs.
- Safety of the reactor unit, with an effective chemical reaction heat abstraction.
- Environmentally friendly.
The technology's main innovation concerns solutions for organising the process and is designed to save energy resources and simplification of the reactor unit design.