PEP Review 94-2-3
Update on Maleic Anhydride From N-Butane Via Fluidized Bed Reactor with an Organic Solvent Absorber
Published: December 1995
This review updates SRI's assessment of maleic anhydride (MAN) via butane oxidation in a fluidized bed reactor with an organic solvent absorber. Revisions include lower yields and other process changes based on licensers' comments. We also consider two potential process improvements: (1) butane recycle at low conversion and (2) use of enriched air. Conclusions regarding potential improvements should also apply in general to other MAN technology (e.g., fixed-bed reactor design).
Butane recycle at low conversion is considered for a higher yield. Pressure-swing adsorption (PSA) is assumed as the recycle technology, allowing high recovery of butane but low recycle of other gases. It was found the recycle design would produce greater savings for sites where butane prices are higher relative to utility values.
Enriched air was considered for debottlenecking. A mixture of 5% O2 and 95% air was estimated to increase reactor capacity by 21% over air-only capacity. The improvement is large enough to warrant serious consideration of enriched air for low-capital debottlenecking.