Worldwide demand for benzene derivatives and polyester fiber/resin is growing faster than 6% each year.

From revamps and upgrades to world-class new projects, UOP technology will help you meet your benzene, para-xylene, and meta-xylene product requirements with minimum feedstock and energy consumption and lower production costs.

Read about the latest technologies designed to meet para-xylene market opportunities.

Learn about recent opportunities and developments in para-xylene production.

Optimized, integrated complex delivers minimal investment cost and lowest cost of production


UOP is the world’s leading licensor of process technology for the production of aromatics. As of 2014, UOP has licensed over 100 complexes and more than 700 individual process units for the production of aromatics, including more than 300 CCR Platforming™ process units, 155 Sulfolane™ process units, 80 Isomar™ process units, 65 Tatoray™ process units and 100 Parex™ process units.

Our commitment to continuous innovation in process technology, catalysts, and adsorbents sets us apart as the market leader, offering our customers:

  • Lowest feedstock consumption
  • Lowest investment cost
  • Lowest energy consumption and overall cost of production
  • Highest reliability and on-stream efficiency

The typical aromatics complex includes a combination of process units for the production of para-xylene, primarily. Many complexes also produce additional aromatic products like benzene and ortho-xylene.

The key process technologies include:

Reforming – The UOP CCR Platforming process selectively reforms naphtha to aromatics (BTX) and high purity hydrogen.

Para-xylene Separation – The UOP Parex process recovers high purity para-xylene from mixed C8 aromatics isomers.

Xylene Isomerization – The UOP Isomar process re-establishes an equilibrium mixture of xylene isomers via xylene isomerization and conversion of ethyl benzene to benzene or xylenes.

Toluene and Heavy Aromatics Conversion – The UOP Tatoray process disproportionates toluene and transalkylates toluene with C9/C10+  aromatics to produce benzene and xylenes.

Toluene Selective Disproportionation – The PX Plus™ Process selectively disproportionates toluene to produce benzene and xylenes with near 90% para-xylene content, significantly above the equilibrium.

Aromatics Extraction – The UOP ED Sulfolane™ processextracts benzene and toluene from the reformate using an extractive distillation flow scheme.

Beyond individual process units, UOP helps its customers succeed with customized, integrated solutions for new and existing complexes.  Effective integration insures maximum feedstock utilization, heat integration, and operability.

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New options for aromatic ring creation

Aromatic Ring Production

The raw benzene, toluene, xylenes, and A9+  feedstock to an aromatics complex can be produced from a number of sources. Heart cut naphthas produced through the distillation of crude oils and the products of heavy oil conversion contain a variety of aromatics, but with relatively low concentration. Historically, high severity catalytic reforming of such naphthas has been used to maximize aromatics yield.  More recently, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), C6/C7  paraffins, and light cycle oil have also become attractive feedstocks for aromatics production.

The UOP CCR Platforming process is the industry leader in catalytic reforming with over 300 units currently in operation, many of them producing aromatic rich reformates for benzene and para-xylene production.  The CCR Platforming process for aromatics is similar to that for motor fuel production, but typically operates at higher severity, lower pressure, and with specialized catalyst systems to maximize selectivity to BTX.

The UOP LCO-X process efficiently converts low value light cycle oil (LCO), a byproduct of the FCC process, into BTX aromatics for further upgrading in a conventional aromatics complex.  The process utilizes elements of UOP Unicracking technology with aromatics processing to efficiently convert the two-ring aromatics in LCO to a high purity BTX product, minimizing LPG and heavy aromatic production.

The UOP Cyclar process converts liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) directly into a liquid, aromatic product in a single processing step. Developed jointly by BP and UOP, the Cyclar process provides a route to upgrade low value propane and butane, recovered from gas fields or petroleum refining operations, into a high value, liquid aromatic concentrate, ideal as feedstock to an aromatics complex.

UOP’s RZ Platforming process utilizes a specialized, fixed-bed catalyst system for the efficient conversion of C6 and C7  paraffins to benzene, toluene, and hydrogen.  By virtue of its ability to selectively convert the most difficult feed components (C6 and C7  paraffins) to aromatics, the RZ-100 catalyst represents a major step beyond conventional reforming catalyst technology.   Processing specialty cut straight-run naphtha or raffinates from aromatics extraction, the RZ Platforming process allows a significant reduction in naphtha requirement for a fixed level of aromatics production.

Contact us for more information.

Maximize conversion of aromatic by-products to para-xylene and benzene

In an aromatics complex two key technologies, the UOP Isomar™ process and the UOP Tatoray™ process, convert lower value aromatic by-products to higher value products – benzene and para-xylene.  Minimum ring loss and the ability to process heavy aromatic feed components result in lowest naphtha feedstock consumption and lowest cost of production.

C8 Aromatics Conversion

The UOP Isomar process is used to convert a mixture of C8 aromatic compounds depleted in one isomer to a xylene stream where the isomers are in equilibrium. It is most often used in integrated complexes where para-xylene is produced from mixed xylenes or reformate, but it can also be used to maximize your production of ortho-xylene or meta-xylene.

The UOP Isomar process utilizes two alternative xylene isomerization catalysts:

  • The I-400 EB isomerization catalyst converts ethylbenzene into xylenes
  • The I-500 EB dealkylation catalyst converts ethylbenzene into a valuable benzene co-product.

Your desired ratio of net para-xylene to benzene production will dictate your catalyst selection.

The UOP Isomar process and our state-of-the-art catalysts offer you a distinct advantage:

  • High aromatic ring retention minimizes feedstock and hydrogen consumption to reduce your overall cost of production
  • High catalyst activity reduces reactor and catalyst costs
  • Proven, rugged catalysts resist upsets and provide long catalyst life to minimize your downtime and costs

Toluene C9+ Aromatics Conversion

The UOP Tatoray process is used to selectively convert lower value toluene and C9+ aromatics into benzene and xylene products.  In a simple transalkylation reactor system, toluene is combined with C9 and C10 aromatics and converted to benzene and xylenes.  The process can more than double your yield of para-xylene from a given naphtha feedstock while significantly reducing feedstock costs and your overall cost of production.

The process utilizes UOP’s latest generation TA-30 catalyst series which has demonstrated superior activity and stability in multiple commercial applications. Ring loss is negligible with the TA-30 catalyst series, and in conjunction with high methyl group stability, cracking levels are very low with minimum hydrogen consumption.

Together, the UOP Tatoray process catalysts offer advantages that will impact your bottom line:

  • Ability to handle heavier aromatic feedstocks
  • High conversion per pass to minimize recycle, reducing your capital and operating costs
  • Minimum cracking for the lowest hydrogen consumption
  • Produces petrochemical-grade benzene and low Ethylbenzene mixed xylenes
  • Long catalyst life for higher on-stream efficiency and capital utilization

Toulene Selective Disproportionation

The UOP PX-Plus process is used to selectively disproportionate toluene into benzene and xylene products. In a simple reactor system similar to that of UOP Tatoray process, toluene is converted to benzene and xylenes. Unlike UOP Tatoray, PX-Plus process is para-selective, with the product having a para-xylene concentration in the xylene fraction of about 90%. The PX-Plus process provides an economic way to expand capacity of existing para-xylene facilities.

The process uses UOP’s new PXP-500 catalyst, characterized by high activity and unmatched stability.

The UOP PX-Plus process catalyst offers a set of distinct advantages:

  • High activity to minimize equipments sizes and energy consumption
  • High selectivity to maximize benzene and para-xylene yields and reduce energy required for recovery
  • Proven unparalleled catalyst life for highest on-stream efficiency and capital utilization

Due to the similarity of operating conditions to many refining and petrochemical units, existing equipment can often be considered for use in PX-Plus service to reduce investment.

Contact us for more information.

Reliable, high purity and efficient aromatics recovery to enhance profitability

Recover Para-xylene from mixed Xylenes

The UOP Parex™ process is an effective separation method for the recovery of para-xylene from mixed xylenes offering proven high product purity, high product recovery, high on-stream efficiency, and extended adsorbent life. Since commercializing the technology in 1971, UOP has licensed more than 100 Parex units around the world ranging in size from 21,000 MTA to 1,600,000 MTA of para-xylene production.

Unlike conventional batch chromatography, the Parex process utilizes a technique known as simulating-moving-bed separation.  The process simulates a moving bed of adsorbent with a continuous counter-current flow of the liquid feed.  Feed and products enter and leave the adsorbent bed continuously at nearly constant compositions.

Our latest efforts in adsorbent innovation introduced the ADS-47 adsorbent, which offer the highest Parex capacity and lowest pressure drop available to date from our portfolio.

The Parex process, which facilitates efficient downstream para-xylene conversion to terephthalic acid and ultimately polyester fiber, films, and resin, offers:

  • More than 97 wt-% recovery from a single feed pass
  • Product purity of 99.9 wt-%
  • Reliability typically exceeding 350 operating days per year
  • Large single train designs that exceed 1000 KMTA para-xylene capacity
  • Optimized unit designs that minimize capital costs and utilities consumption

UOP Parex process services may include:

  • Research and development
  • Process evaluation
  • Market and economic studies
  • Consultation
  • Engineering services
  • Technical and marketing services
  • Design services

Recover High Purity Benzene and Toluene

The UOP Extractive Distillation (ED) Sulfolane™ process uses Sulfolane solvent for the recovery of high purity benzene and toluene products from reformate splitter overhead. It is a simplified, low capital investment alternative (as much as 80% less) to the traditional Sulfolane process. The process offers:

  • 99.9 wt-% purity benzene (ASTM Refined Benzene-545)
  • High purity toluene with less than 1000 wt-ppm non-aromatics.
  • Benzene and toluene recovery greater than 99.5%
  • Low solvent consumption
  • Maximum energy efficiency

Recover Meta-xylene

View Larger ImageMeta-xylene

The UOP MX Sorbex™ process recovers meta-xylene from mixed xylenes feedstocks. Meta-xylene is used in the production of purified isophthalic acid (PIA), an intermediate in the production of polyester resins. The most rapidly growing application for PIA is as co-polymer in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin bottles.

The UOP MX Sorbex process has become the new industry standard for meta-xylene recovery due to its reduced environmental impact, inherent safety and improved economics compared to HF=BF3 extraction technology.

The MX Sorbex process can be integrated into an existing UOP aromatics complex and offers several distinct advantages:

  • Meta-xylene production at 99.5 wt-% purity
  • 95 wt-% recovery per pass
  • Carbon steel metallurgy and low equipment count
  • 8 to 10 year adsorbent life
  • A high on-stream factor for reliable operation

Contact us for more information.