Published: December 2008
This report updates the Process Economics Program technical and economic appraisal of linear alpha olefin technologies for Shell, Chevron, Ineos, IFP (Institut Français du Pétrole) and UOP that were last examined in PEP Report 12D (June 2001). In addition, the following new technologies are evaluated in detailed fashion as customary in the PEP:
- SABIC/Linde LAO technology (alpha-SABLIN™)
- DuPont LAO technology (Versipol™)
Shell uses a liganded nickel catalyst system for ethylene oligomerization compared with Chevron and Ineos, which employ a Ziegler catalyst. IFP’s AlphaSelect™ targets the maximizing of alpha olefin production in the C4–C10 range using zirconium-based catalysts. The UOP/Union Carbide’s Linear-1™ technology, like Shell, is founded on liganded nickel compounds and, although focusing on producing C4–C10 alpha olefins, can produce the detergent-grade alpha olefins as well.
SABIC (Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation) is a new entrant in the field of the LAO production business. It recently commercialized a technology jointly with Linde by commissioning a 150,000 TPA LAO plant in Saudi Arabia. The SABIC/Linde technology is commercially branded as alpha-SABLIN technology. Like the other three main licensors, the SABIC/Linde technology can also produce all types of LAO products. Additionally, the technology can be operated under specific catalytic conditions to produce specific ranges (including narrow-range) of the LAO product also. The technology is based upon a proprietary zirconium based catalyst used in conjunction with an aluminum alkyl cocatalyst. The current report presents a detailed technoeconomic evaluation of the alpha-SABLIN technology.
DuPont’s LAO technology (offered for licensing) is commercially known as Versipol™. The technology has not yet found an application in the form of a plant. DuPont catalyst is comprised of an iron complex of a selected diimine of a 2,6-diacylpyridine or 2,6-pyridinedicarboxaldehyde. The catalyst, which is inert at the ambient conditions of reaction, is activated for oligomerization by an alkylaluminum compound. This technology has also been analyzed in detail.
This report also presents a detailed technical review of the major LAO technologies (Shell, Chevron-Phillip, Ineos, IFP, UOP, SABIC/Linde, DuPont and Exxon) based upon their patents issued in the last seven or eight years.