Germany: Efficient in Ultra-Low SHR Conditions Clariant Presents New Styrene Catalyst

Editor: Alexander Stark

Clariant launched its new high-performance ethyl benzene dehydrogenation catalyst StyroMax UL3.

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StyroMax UL3 solves a critical problem in styrene monomer production.
StyroMax UL3 solves a critical problem in styrene monomer production.
(Source: Clariant)

Munich/Germany — According to the manufacturer, the catalyst achieves outstanding activity and selectivity at conditions of ultra-low steam-to-oil ratio (also known as steam-to-hydrocarbon ratio, SHR). Thereby, it would produce styrene monomer far more efficiently than many other state-of-the-art catalysts. The new product was officially launched at the Clariant Styrene Seminar 2016, which was held from October 12 to 14 in Xi’an, China.

Styrene monomer is manufactured from ethyl benzene using superheated steam as energy source, and relies on catalysts to facilitate the dehydrogenation reaction. As generating steam consumes considerable energy, the latest plant process designs rely on ultra-low SHR conditions in order to reduce costs. However, previous generations of styrene catalysts have performed suboptimally at such low SHR conditions, the manufacturer claims, demonstrating either favorable activity or selectivity, but not both. Clariant says that their new catalyst has been proven to offer superior activity as well as enhanced selectivity at ultra-low SHR conditions (1.0 by weight). The new catalyst was installed at the Grand Pacific Petrochemical Corporation (GPPC) styrene production plant in Taiwan in May 2016, and design SM production rate has already been achieved at lower temperatures than previous operation, the company reports. Also, catalyst selectivity had improved by 0.5 % compared to former catalyst performance.

Stefan Heuser, Senior Vice President & General Manager Business Unit Catalysts at Clariant, stated, “We are proud to partner with GPPC as our first industrial reference for StyroMax UL3. With StyroMax UL3, we have a cutting-edge catalyst that serves one of the most challenging applications in the industry, and provides tangible economic benefits to our customers.” Mr. Yang Pin-Cheng, President of GPPC, added, “Selecting a catalyst that works efficiently in ultra-low SHR conditions can significantly reduce the production cost in our plant. We have used the new catalyst our styrene monomer production since May 2016, and we are very pleased with its performance.”