China: Coal-to-Chemicals Catalysts Conversion of Coal into Plastics

Editor: Alexander Stark

Honeywell has started the production of the proprietary catalysts in China that are used to convert coal into plastics. The company also inaugurated a new research and development and engineering center to support business development and to meet growing engineering and technical service needs throughout Asia.

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Honeywell UOP has inaugurated a new production line for a coal-to-chemicals catalysts in China. (sample image)
Honeywell UOP has inaugurated a new production line for a coal-to-chemicals catalysts in China. (sample image)
(Source: Creative Commons/Pixabay / CC0 )

Zhangjiagang/China — The new catalyst production line, located in Zhangjiagang in Jiangsu Province, manufactures catalysts used in the company's Advanced Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) process technology, which converts methanol from coal and natural gas into the olefins that are used to make plastic resins and fibers. The heart of the MTO process is a proprietary catalyst that facilitates the conversion of methanol into olefins.

Rebecca Liebert said that MTO technology would enable countries such as China to make plastics from their own coal resources rather than from imported petroleum. The facility in Zhangjiagang opened in 2015. In addition to MTO catalysts, it also produces catalysts used in Honeywell UOP’s Oleflex process, which converts propane into propylene, and in continuous catalyst regeneration (CCR) Platforming, which is used to produce high-octane gasoline.

While global demand for ethylene and propylene is growing by 4 to 5 % per year, China is expected to invest more than $ 100 billion in coal-to-chemicals technology by 2020. This would reduce China’s dependence on imported oil for the manufacture of plastics used to make millions of different products.

Honeywell also celebrated the opening of its new engineering center, also located in Zhangjiagang. This center will support technology delivery, project commissioning, ongoing technical support and revamp projects. In addition, the center will provide additional service capabilities.