PEP Review 87-1-4
Dimethyl Carbonate from Methanol
Expansion by Enichem Synthesis of Milan, Italy of its dimethyl carbonate production shows the guse of this chemical as a substitute for Phosgene and dimethyl sulfate--two toxic and corrosive chemicals that industry has been trying to phase out. The original dimethyl carbonate plant, using Enichem's non-phosgenation oxidative carbonylation technology, was started up in 1983, with a production capacity of 5,500 t/yr (12.1 million Ib/yr) . lt is to be expanded to 8,800 t/yr (19.4 million Ib/yr). In this study, SRI evaluates Enichem's oxidative carbonylation process and another nonphosgenation transesterification process, and compares their economics. SRI concludes it is unlikely that any reasonable reduction in capital investment and raw material costs would make the transesterification process competitive with the oxidative carbonylation process.