Published February 2016
This report consolidates and updates the IHS Process Economics Program (PEP) technical and economic analyses of oxo alcohols manufacturing technologies from 1995 to the present. The term “oxo” is the generic name for the chemicals manufactured from “oxo synthesis” chemistry, which is the hydroformylation of olefins by using syngas, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen. The oxo process or hydroformylation of olefins with synthesis gas (or syngas) is the principal route to C3–C15 aldehydes, which are converted to alcohols, acids, or other derivatives. By far the most important oxo chemical is n-butyraldehyde, followed by C6–C13 aldehydes for plasticizer alcohols, isobutyraldehyde, valeraldehyde, and C12–C18 aldehydes for detergent alcohols. Nearly all oxo aldehydes are converted to derivatives in plants adjacent to the hydroformylation unit; very small volumes of oxo aldehydes are transported.
Technical descriptions and economic analyses are provided herein for the eleven technologies listed below, four of which produce the intermediate aldehydes—three processes for n-butyraldehyde and one process for n-valeraldehyde—as feedstocks to be converted to oxo alcohol products. The other seven technologies covered produce a range of C4–C15 oxo alcohols.
- Dow-Davy’s low-pressure (LP) OxoSM SELECTORSM process for n-butyraldehyde by propylene.
- The Union Carbide, Davy McKee, and Johnson Matthey LP oxo process with liquid recycle for n-butyraldehyde by propylene. (Union Carbide Corporation is a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company, and Davy Process Technology Limited is a subsidiary of Johnson Matthey.)
- The Ruhrchemie/Rhône-Poulenc process for n-butyraldehyde by propylene. (Rhône Poulenc/Ruhrchemie is a subsidiary of Sanofi.)
- The BASF process for n-valeraldehyde by raffinate II C4 olefins (2-butene).
- The BASF process for n-butanol by n-butyraldehyde.
- The hydrogenation to amyl alcohol by n-valeraldehyde.
- The Mitsubishi process for 2-ethylhexanol by n-butyraldehyde.
- The Exxon process for isononyl alcohol by isooctane.
- The Exxon process for isodecyl (isodecanol) alcohol by nonenes.
- The BASF process for 2-propylheptanol by n-valeraldehyde.
- The Shell process for primary linear C12–C15 alcohols by linear olefins.
These and other technologies (past, present, and emerging) for oxo alcohol production are reviewed with a bibliography and abstracts for relevant patents since the mid-1990s. The industry status is updated, and the modern oxo alcohol processes are summarized in terms of economics and the key process indicators (KPI) of capital intensity and carbon intensity. Lastly, the iPEP Navigator interactive module is attached to the electronic version of this report. iPEP Navigator provides an economic snapshot for each process, allowing the user to select and compare the processes, units, and regions of interest.
Previous PEP Consolidated Reports
CR001- Wide Range Linear Alpha Olefin Processes
CR002 - On Purpose Linear Alpha Olefins
CR003 - Propylene Oxide
CR005 - On-Purpose Acetic Acid