PEP Review 90-2-4
Linear Alkylbenzene by Heterogeneous Catalysis
Published: September 1991
Linear alkylbenzene production from olefins using HF alkylation has evolved to become a commercially successful process on a worldwide scale. Its application is dependent however on securing a reliable hydrogen fluoride raw material supply source. Also, implementing the required safety and environmental precautions for handling HF is expensive.
The potential advantages for benzene alkylatlon using a heterogeneous catalyst have long been recognized because of the difficulties associated with handling concentrated hydrofluoric acid, and the disposal of fluorinated waste material. Such an alkylation process is presently under commercial development following successful pilot demonstration.
This review presents a conceptual process design for alkylation by heterogeneous catalysis and compares process economics with an updated evaluation of HF alkylation. Total capital costs for a typically sized 110 milllon Ib/yr (50,000 t/yr) production facility located on the U. S. Gulf Coast are substantially lower for the heterogeneous catalysis process. The calculated product value based on production cost plus a 25% return on total fixed capital is lower for the heterogeneous catalysis process than for the HF alkylation process.