HPPO Technology | Benefits
In the HPPO process, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is used as the oxidizing agent to oxidize propylene to propylene oxide (PO) with only water as a co-product. The catalyst system utilized is based on a specifically developed and custom-tailored titanium silicalite-1 (TS-1) from Evonik. The HPPO technology provides the following advantages:
- Only water as a co-product
- Optimized raw material usage through the use of a specially developed catalyst from Evonik
- Lower investment costs
- Efficient raw material consumption
- Decreased energy use lowers carbon footprint
The characteristics of the process are outstanding; it is more environmentally friendly than other competing technologies and does not produce any significant co-products besides water. Additionally, the HPPO process comes with a considerably lower investment volume, resulting in higher profitability than with a conventional production process for propylene oxide.
Propylene oxide is mainly used to produce polyurethane precursors, an attractive market which is outpacing GDP due to several mega trends such as resource efficiency and globalization. It is used predominantly to make the polyurethane intermediates that are used in the manufacture of products such as upholstery for car seats and furniture or insulation material for the construction and refrigeration industries.
The world's first industrial-scale HPPO plant, licensed jointly by Evonik Industries and thyssenkrupp Uhde, was built by SKC in Ulsan, South Korea, in 2008, with an annual output of 100,000 metric tons of propylene oxide. The capacity of this first-of-its-kind HPPO plant was then increased to 130,000 metric tons of propylene oxide per year.
SKC uses the capacity for further processing downstream as well as supplying the propylene oxide produced to the markets of Korea and its neighboring countries. H2O2 in Ulsan is delivered directly "over the fence" to the HPPO plant by a neighboring hydrogen peroxide plant.
Global HPPO cooperations
The first-ever world-scale HPPO cooperation in China, with 300,000 metric tons of propylene oxide by Jishen Chemical Industry Co. Ltd., is also using the Evonik-Uhde process. Evonik supplies its H2O2 directly to the adjacent propylene oxide plant run by Jishen via a pipeline that links the two facilities.
The production plant has an annual capacity of 230,000 metric tons. Evonik has invested over one hundred million euros in the site. To date, hydrogen peroxide has been used mainly as a bleaching agent by the textile and pulp industry. The HPPO process allows this eco-friendly oxidant to also be employed in the direct chemical synthesis of propylene oxide.
HPPO is the technology of choice for either setting up new PO capacity or replacing the PO capacity based on old pollutive chlorohydrin process. Hungarian MOL Group and Chinese Zibo Qixiang Tengda Chemical are two further examples, who are currently building up HPPO capacities, 200kta in Tiszaújváros, Hungary and 300kta in Zibo, China respectively, using Evonik-Uhde technology.