Detergents

Growth in household detergents is driving demand for linear alkylbenzene produced from kerosene-derived normal paraffins

UOP’s Molex, Pacol, DeFine, PEP and Detal-Plus processes form an integrated LAB complex with recent developments focusing on energy efficiency and capital cost reduction.

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Fueling LAB production: Normal paraffins from kerosene

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The demand for linear normal paraffins for use as the principal feedstock in linear alkylbenzene (LAB) manufacture continues to increase worldwide in step with the increasing use of biodegradable detergents. The primary processing route for the production of normal paraffins from kerosene is well established. The UOP Molex™ Process is the technology leader and provides the most economical route to produce normal paraffins from kerosene, enabling the user to produce a by-product return stream of Jet A-1 quality when the feed kerosene is of similar quality.

Pretreatment

Kerosene fractionation is the first step in feed preparation, tailoring the feedstock to the desired carbon number range of the resultant n-paraffin product  Contaminant removal (sulfur, nitrogen, olefins, and oxygenates) is accomplished in the Distillate Unionfining Process, providing high quality feedstock for optimum Molex unit performance.

n-Paraffin Recovery

The Molex process is a liquid-state separation of normal paraffins from branched and cyclic components using UOP Sorbex technology. It operates in the liquid phase and simulates a moving adsorbent bed in a fixed-bed system by use of a proprietary multi-port rotary valve. The almost “attention-free” process technology and its low operating costs make it the most attractive n-paraffin separation process commercially available.

Since its introduction to the marketplace in the 1960’s, more than 35 Molex units have been licensed.

UOP provides a single source of technology supply which simplifies project execution and optimizes unit integration with a downstream LAB complex.  UOP n-Paraffin technologies provide a proven and reliable route to produce normal paraffins in the most cost effective manner available today.

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Greater profitability and flexibility with every new LAB development

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Next generation processes have made Linear Alkylbenzene (LAB) production extremely profitable and Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate (LAS) the most widely used surfactant in biodegradable household detergents. LAB is produced via the alkylation of benzene with normal olefins derived from a variety of sources such as kerosene (normal paraffins) or ethylene. UOP is the global technology leader, with over 80 percent of the world’s LAB produced using our technologies. Our breakthrough catalysts and adsorbents help you achieve your desired production and product quality objectives.

With each process step in LAB complexes, UOP technology maximizes yields and lowers your operating costs. And with our committed R&D pipeline, you can be assured that you’ll have the highest product quality and newest technologies when you choose UOP.

The UOP/CEPSA Detal™ process has been the alkylation technology of choice for LAB production, accounting for 75% of all added LAB capacity since 1995. And now our latest technology, the UOP/CEPSA Detal-Plus™ process, is helping producers to meet growing demand with several distinct advantages:

  • Utilizes transalkylation of heavy alkylbenzene to produce up to 5% more LAB
  • Lowers capital investment and operating costs for new LAB complexes
  • Minimal capital investment for Detal unit revamps
  • No additional n-paraffin requirements

Minimal loss of feedstock to byproducts make the UOP Pacol™ process the most economical paraffin dehydrogenation technology available. During this process, normal paraffins are dehydrogenated to their corresponding mono-olefins using UOP’s highly active and selective DeH series of catalysts. The dehydrogenation is achieved under mild operating conditions. The Pacol process was first commercialized in the 1960′s and more than 40 units have been licensed.

The addition of a UOP DeFine™ process unit after the Pacol unit in your LAB complex results in a 5% yield increase by reducing heavy alkylate and regenerator bottoms byproducts. The DeFine process accomplishes this by selectively hydrogenating diolefins produced in the Pacol process into the corresponding mono-olefin. The DeFine process was first commercialized in the 1980’s and more than 35 units have been licensed.

The UOP PEP™ process enables the selective removal of aromatics in the olefin/paraffin feed to the Detal unit. Removal of the aromatics results in a 3-5 % increase in LAB yield and improved stability of the Detal alkylation catalyst. The PEP process was first commercialized in 1995 and more than 10 units have been licensed.

UOP provides a single source of technology supply which simplifies project execution and optimizes unit integration with an upstream n-Paraffins complex.  UOP LAB technologies provide a proven and reliable route to produce LAB in the most cost effective manner available today.

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N-olefins play key role in the production of detergent alcohols

Detergent range n-olefins are the primary raw materials used to produce detergent alcohols (C12–C16). As a variation to the processes that produces normal paraffins and LAB, the UOP Molex™, UOP Pacol™, and UOP DeFine™ processes can be combined with the UOP Olex™ process for the production of high purity linear internal n-Olefins.

Pretreatment

Kerosene fractionation is the first step in feed preparation, tailoring the feedstock to the desired carbon number range of the resultant n-Olefin product.  Contaminant removal (sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygenates) is accomplished in the UOP Distillate Unionfining™ process, providing high quality feedstock for optimum Molex unit performance.

n-Paraffin Recovery

The Molex process is a liquid-state separation of normal paraffins from branched and cyclic components using UOP Sorbex technology.  It operates in the liquid phase and simulates a moving adsorbent bed in a fixed-bed system by use of a proprietary multi-port rotary valve.  The almost “attention-free” process technology and its low operating costs make it the most attractive n-Paraffin separation process commercially available.  Since its introduction to the marketplace in the 1960′s, more than 35 Molex units have been licensed.

n-Paraffin Conversion to n-Olefins

Minimal loss of feedstock to byproducts makes the Pacol process the most economical paraffin dehydrogenation technology available.  During the process, normal paraffins are dehydrogenated to their corresponding mono-olefins using UOP’s highly active and selective DeH series of catalysts.  The dehydrogenation is achieved under mild operating conditions.  The Pacol process was first commercialized in the 1960′s and more than 40 units have been licensed.

The DeFine process improves overall olefin yields by selectively hydrogenating di-olefins produced in the Pacol process into their corresponding mono-olefin.  The DeFine process was first commercialized in the 1980′s and more than over 35 units have been licensed.

n-Olefin Purification

The Olex process is a liquid-state separation of normal olefins from normal paraffins using UOP Sorbex technology.  It operates in the liquid phase and simulates a moving adsorbent bed in a fixed-bed system by use of a proprietary multi-port rotary valve.  The almost “attention-free” process technology and its low operating costs make it the most attractive n-Olefin separation process commercially available.  Since its introduction to the marketplace in the 1960′s more than five Olex units have been licensed.

The UOP Olex and UOP Molex processes may include the following services:

  • Research & development
  • Evaluation services
  • Market and economic studies
  • Consulting services
  • Design services
  • Engineering services
  • Technical services

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Propylene/Butylene upgrading to higher olefins

Propylene and Butylene, from traditional light olefin sources, can be easily polymerized into higher molecular weight olefins for various petrochemical applications.  The UOP Catalytic Condensation process uses a solid acid catalyst to polymerize propylene for the production of nonene and propylene tetramer.

As first applied, the Catalytic Condensation process was utilized to make economic use of the light olefinic by-product gases derived from thermal processing by converting these materials to high octane motor fuel. This basic application was later extended to the processing of propylene and butylenes derived from fluid catalytic cracking operations.

The flexibility of the process is such that it is used commercially to produce a broad range of products. The process is used extensively to polymerize propylene and/or butylenes to produce C7, C9 and C12 olefins. These higher molecular weight olefins are used as building blocks in the production of a number of intermediate materials and end products such as specialty alcohols, detergents and plastics.

The UOP Catalytic Condensation process using a proprietary solid phosphoric acid (SPA) catalyst enjoys a dominant position around the world for polymerization of olefinic feedstocks; a position which is justified by its engineering design, product distribution and overall economy of operation.

UOP has licensed more than 250 Catalytic Condensation Units since the technology was commercialized in 1935.

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