PEP Review 79-1-4
Methyl Methacrylate from Allyl Acetate
Published: January 1980
A new route to methyl methacrylate has been made possible by the discovery that methacrylic acid can be produced in high yields from ally1 acetate, with the coproduction of approximately 41 lb butyrolactone per LOO lb methacrylic acid. In the process, acetic acid is released, and can be recycled to produce more allyl acetate. However in SRI's judgment, this route can be economic only if the butyrolactone market develops sufficiently to absorb the coproduct from this process. The amount of butyrolactone that would be produced from a single 250 million lb/yr methyl methacrylate plant is about equal to the entire current U.S. capacity for this product.
The economics were developed for a 250 million lb/yr methyl methacrylate plant coproducing approximately 90 million lb/yr butyrolactone. The product value of the methyl methacrylate produced using this process is slightly higher than that of several other new processes proposed. Thus, we conclude that this process is not attractive at this time.