Shale Gas

Why Europe's Chemical Industry Needs new Technologies

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PHD Trend — The Need for New Technologies

There is no getting around it. The shortage of propylene, which has existed for more than 15 years, has become far more acute over the past five years. This has led to a strong increase in demand for on-purpose technologies to produce propylene without reliance on the cracker routes, in other words directly from propane or from methanol, and no end is in sight.

Propane dehydrogenation is the preferred technique, and that is good news for three suppliers including the plant manufacturing business unit at ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions. “We believe that around three million tonnes of PDH-based propylene capacity will be created in North America by 2020. That equates to 5–6 large PDH plants which will be built and commissioned during this period,” reported Max Heinritz-Adrian, Head of Gas Technologies, Thyssen Krupp Industrial Solutions.

The PDH trend has gathered momentum over the past five years due to the shale gas boom in the US but also due to the development of on-purpose technology in China. Thyssen Krupp is one of the three suppliers, Honeywell UOP and Lummus being the other two. As a relative newcomer, Thyssen Krupp faces stiff competition.

The three processes are based on different technologies, but they use the same feedstock and produce a similar product mix. Nevertheless, the Star (Steam Active Reforming) process has already lived up to its name. “Our market entry was successful and we were able to acquire a whole series of projects including a project in the US,” reported Heinritz-Adrian.

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