Process Economics Program Report 203
Alkane Dehydrogenation and Aromatization
Published: September 1992
Propylene, isobutene and BTX (benzene, toluene and xylenes) have traditionally been recovered as by-products of petroleum and petrochemical operations. On-purpose production of these olefins and aromatics has become more attractive as less costly supplies from traditional sources become inadequate to meet projected requirements. This report covers the technologies and economics for three alkane dehydrogenation and aromatization processes
and examines the driving forces behind these on-purpose technologies. For propylene production from propane, the primary economic incentive increases with increasing price differential between the feed and the product. Isobutene produced from isobutane is used primarily as a feed-stock for MTBE, which has become the fastest-growing large-volume chemical in the world as a result of increasing demand for less polluting fuels and high-octane gasoline. The traditional less expensive supplies of isobutene are inadequate to meet projected demand. There is no apparent long-term shortage of BTX worldwide. Processes that convert LPG and light naphtha to BTX are likely to be attractive only in countries with abundant supplies of low-cost LPG, high demand for BTX, and regionally inadequate supply from traditional sources.
Supply/demand balances for propylene, isobutene and BTX worldwide are also included. This report will give chemical producers and refiners an understanding of dehydrogenation and aromatization technologies, economics and market dynamics to identify future opportunities.