PEP Review 86-2-3
2,6-Xylenol and o-Cresol from Phenol
Published: November 1987
Asahi Chemical built the first commercial fluidized bed process for o-cresol and 2,6-xylenol in October 1984. The capacity is 11 million Ib/yr (5,000 metric tonslyr) o-cresol and 22 million lb/yr (10,000 metric tons/yr) 2.6-xylenol from phenol and methanol. The process uses a promoted iron-vanadium catalyst. Successful operation was confirmed by Asahi at an AlChE meeting late in 1988.
To assess the commercial potential of the fluidized bed process, we developed a design based on pertinent patents assigned to Asahi Chemical, Mitsui Petrochemical, and Mitsui Toatsu Chemical at the above plant capacity. The economics of the process are then compared with those of a conventional fixed bed process using a magnesium oxide catalyst, based on General Electric patents.
The fluidized bed process requires less total fixed capital than the fixed bed process. However, these two processes have essentially the same product values.