Chemical Makers Plug Better Energy Efficiency

Firms are striving to achieve increasingly ambitious goals.

By Seán Ottewell, Editor at Large

4 of 4 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 > View on one page

One of the ways the firm is achieving these goals is through developing new technologies jointly with other companies. For example, a project with

Dow Chemical, Midland, Mich., has led to a technology that is said to vastly improve the production process of a key chemical intermediate, propylene oxide (PO). The hydrogen-peroxide-to-propylene-oxide (HPPO) route reportedly offers distinct economic and environmental benefits compared to conventional technologies (Figure 3). A joint study using BASF's Eco-Efficiency Analysis tool revealed the new HPPO process reduces wastewater by 70–80% and energy use by approximately 35% compared to existing PO technology.
Dramatic changes in technology aren't always the answer, though. For instance, ExxonMobil Chemical, Houston, relied on a "back to basics" energy strategy at its Baytown olefins plant to achieve impressive improvements that have been replicated throughout the company. The four-point strategy focused on: optimizing refrigeration; minimizing steam letdown and venting; reducing energy consumption by better matching the number of pumps online to the number actually required; and decreasing steam loss by improving deaerator vents. Costing just $80,000, the project has produced energy savings of 1.153 trillion BTU/year, a reduction in CO2 emissions of 66,650 ton/year and total energy savings of $6.5 million/year. Overall energy savings per unit of production were 4%. "Low/no cost opportunities for improvements in energy efficiency always exist," concludes the company's report on the project.

Seán Ottewell is Chemical Processing's Editor at Large. You can e-mail him at


4 of 4 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 > View on one page
Show Comments
Hide Comments

Join the discussion

We welcome your thoughtful comments.
All comments will display your user name.

Want to participate in the discussion?

Register for free

Log in for complete access.


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments