Published: October 1989
Our initial study on maleic anhydride Process Economics Report No. 46, was issued in January 1969. Since that time we have issued two interim reports: 46A1 in November 1983, and 46B in April 1983. We have also issued several Process Economics Reviews on the subject: X-3-1, June 1975; 75-l-3, October 1975; 75-2-1, January 1976; and 77-2-1, May 1978.
The present study is basically to update selected information of current industry importance that was previously presented in report 46B. In this report we concentrate on processes that use n-butane as a feedstock, since it is becoming the preferred feedstock worldwide for economic as well as environmental reasons. However, for comparison purposes, we also present one process that uses a benzene feedstock, since benzene is still the predominant feedstock for existing facilities outside the United States.
In our study we estimate the costs for both a fixed bed reactor system and a fluid bed reactor system for the production of maleic anhydride from n-butane. We have evaluated both reactor schemes with two methods of product recovery and purification-the direct dehydration method and the organic solvent recovery method. We also present a speculative design and associated costs for the MonsantolDuPont process. This process, not yet commercial, uses a moving bed reaction system, which is new technology for the maleic anhydride industry.