Published: August 1967
This report is concerned with comparing the cost and technology of various processes for making higher alcohols that are suitable for use in the manufacture of biodegradable detergents. Those alcohols of particular interest are the saturated, linear, primary, or secondary alcohols having 11 to 15 carbon atoms.
Four synthetic alcohol processes are evaluated in detail in this report. Included are two variations of the ethylene polymerization process: the Conoco Process produces a wide range of primary alcohols; the other process based on Ethyl Corp. patents produces a narrower range of primary alcohols. The Shell Oxo process produces linear primary alcohols from linear olefins. The alcohols from this process contain primary alcohols having a methyl branching at the alpha-position. The last process evaluated produces a mixture of linear secondary alcohols by air oxidation of normal paraffins in the presence of boric acid. Union Carbide Corp. is reported to be using a paraffin oxidation process.
A discussion of processes to make linear alcohols from natural raw materials and by other synthetic processes is also presented in this report. Cost estimates of a cursory nature have been included for primary alcohols produced commercially from coconut oil and tallow.