PEP Review 83-3-1
Tetrahydrofuran and 1,4-Butanediol from Acetylene and Formaldehyde
Published: July 1984
In this review, SRI evaluates the main commercial route for the manufacture of tetrahydrofuran. 1,4-Butanediol, made from acetylene and formaldehyde, is treated with an acid catalyst to form tetrahydrofuran (and water).
The estimated economics of this route are compared with those of a butadiene route, in commercial operation in Japan, that we evaluated in a previous Process Economics Review (82-2-2). In our comparison, both manufacturing units coproduce 30 million lb/yr of 1,4-butanediol and 24 million lb/yr of tetrahydrofuran. They provide about the same return on investment when the respective raw materials are charged-in at estimated current contract or plant transfer prices.
SRI expects raw material price changes to favor the butadiene process over the older acetylene-formaldehyde route in the United States.