BASF, Dow team up to launch PO process

BASF AG, Ludwigshafen, Germany, and the Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., plan to produce propylene oxide (PO) via the first commercial-scale hydrogen peroxide propylene oxide (HPPO) plant.

That 300,000-metric-ton of HPPO/year facility will be constructed at BASF’s Antwerp, Belgium, complex, and is expected to start up in 2008. It will get hydrogen peroxide (HP) feedstock from a second new plant at the site, a 230,000-mt/yr unit being built by Solvay, BASF and Dow that will be the largest single-train HP plant in the world and that is also slated to go on-stream in 2008.

The HPPO process uses just HP and propylene as feedstocks and produces only PO and water. The route offers a number of advantages, say the firms, which have worked together to develop the technology since 2003. It reduces wastewater generation by 70% to 80% and energy consumption by 35%, compared to conventional processes, the companies claim. Moreover, it boasts capital costs that are up to 25% lower.

Both companies have equal rights to the HPPO technology, and each will receive half of the output from the Antwerp plant. BASF and Dow are contemplating additional HPPO projects in other regions, including Asia. BASF also plans to employ the technology at its Geismar, La., site.

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