PEP Review 81-1-2
Methyl Isobutyl Ketone by Direct Condensation of Acetone
Published: December 1981
Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), second to methyl methacrylate as the largest tonnage product obtained from acetone, is used in a variety of applications requiring a medium-boiling solvent. MIBK is produced in the United States by a multistep process which, together with a lower-cost conceptual one-step process based on Veba-Chemie patents, was presented in PEP Report No. 77. Researchers in the Soviet Union have developed a cationic exchange resin containing palladium that can be used in a one-step process to achieve both high MIBK selectivity (86-96%) and a higher per pass acetone conversion (31-64%) than previously obtained.
SRI made a preliminary process design based on the use of this catalyst, and determined scoping economics for production at 50 million lb/yr. The MIBK product value of a process using the Soviet-developed catalyst is essentially the same as that obtained with the catalyst described in Veba-Chemie patents.