PEP Review 81-2-1
Ethylene Glycol via Oxalate Esters
Published: March 1981
A process has been evaluated for making ethylene glycol from CO, hydrogen, and oxygen by the formation of dimethyl oxalate as an intermediate followed by hydrogenation of the oxalate to glycol. Dimethyl oxalate is made by a vapor-phase operation in which methyl nitrite reacts with CO. An economic comparison is made with the conventional ethylene-based route entailing the production and hydrolysis of ethylene oxide.
The oxalate route is indicated to require a slightly lower investment and to produce glycol at a somewhat lower production cost and product value than the ethylene route.