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USA: Propylene Production Dow to Retrofit US Cracker with FCDh Technology

Editor: Alexander Stark

Dow will retrofit proprietary fluidized catalytic dehydrogenation (FCDh) technology into one of its mixed-feed crackers in Plaquemine, Louisiana, to produce on-purpose propylene.

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Dow is going to retrofit its Louisiana cracker with fluidized catalytic dehydrogenation FCDh technology.
Dow is going to retrofit its Louisiana cracker with fluidized catalytic dehydrogenation FCDh technology.
(Source: Dow)

Midland/USA — In 2016, Dow expanded the ethylene capacity of its Plaquemine cracker by more than 225,000 metric tons and added the ability to crack ethane, while maintaining the flexibility to crack propane, butane and naphtha. Now, the company is retrofitting this cracker to produce on-purpose propylene.

Dow and other US cracker operators are consuming more ethane instead of heavier feed slates, resulting in a reduction of coproduct 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.

The FCDh technology retrofit is to further improve the company’s ability to continue to source the most advantaged feedstocks, while also producing reliable and cost-efficient on-purpose propylene to supply its integrated derivative units in Louisiana. The technology can also reduce capital outlay by up to 25 % and lower energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20 %.

The retrofit will enable production of more than 100,000 metric tons 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 project is expected to begin producing on-purpose propylene by the end of 2021.

Dow’s licensable FCDh technology 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. In July, Petro Logistics ll LLC announced it had licensed this FCDh technology for a new stand-alone PDH facility it plans to construct on the US Gulf Coast.

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