PEP Review 2002-14
Ethylbenzene From Ethylene And Benzene via Zeolite Catalyzed Process (Sept 2003)
Published: September 2003
The 1990's saw big changes in the ethylbenzene industry with the widespread introduction of zeolite catalysts. These catalysts had significant advantages over the AlCl3 catalysts then in use. The zeolites mitigated environmental and corrosion issues while providing operational and yield advantages. In a business that is typically highly competitive, the cost advantages proved compelling.
More recently, as diminishing returns have set in, process improvements have become more incremental. These have concentrated on yield improvements and efforts to reduce energy requirements. Smaller these improvements may be, but when you're running a billion pound per year plant, saving even one-tenth of a cent per pound is worth a million dollars per year.
This review updates our cost estimates for a world-class plant (1.15 billion lb/yr) using a liquid phase zeolite-catalyzed process for the alkylation of benzene to produce ethylbenzene. We also look at some of the catalyst and process improvements that the major licensors have made.