By – Lauren Levy and Joe Zimmermann
Last month, 120 customers, sponsors and UOP employees attended the Oleflex Technology Users’ Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The conference was co-hosted with Valero, an international manufacturer of transportation fuels and petrochemicals. Attendees represented customers in China, Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East. In addition to learning about Oleflex unit optimization, troubleshooting and best practices, attendees networked with colleagues during a reception, poster session and dinner.
The UOP Oleflex process for propane dehydrogenation (PDH) to produce on-purpose propylene was first commercialized in 1990 . The plant, located in Thailand, was the world’s first PDH unit. UOP’s Oleflex technology was developed utilizing know-how and experience gained from two previously commercialized UOP technologies from the early 1970’s, UOP’s Continuous Catalyst Regeneration (CCR) Platforming™ Process and UOP’s Pacol™ Process. UOP’s CCR Platforming Process is widely used throughout the refining and petrochemical industry to produce high-octane gasoline and aromatic rich reformate with more than 235 operating CCR Platforming units in operation today. UOP’s Pacol technology employs platinum catalysis for kerosene range (C10-C14) paraffin dehydrogenation for linear alkyl benzene (LAB) detergent production. This innovative light paraffin dehydrogenation approach offers the industry a positive pressure, continuous reaction-regeneration section CCR-based approach with low capital cost and low energy usage compared with the sub-atmospheric, swing-bed dehydrogenation systems invented during World War II.
Since 1990, a total of 14 PDH units have been commissioned world-wide. UOP’s Oleflex Process accounts for nine (9) of the fourteen (14) operating PDH units world-wide today with more than 2.4 million MTA (90,000 BPD) of propylene production world-wide.