Lummus Technology offers two on-purpose routes to propylene: olefins conversion technology (OCT), which utilizes olefins metathesis, and CATOFIN® propane dehydrogenation. Historically, commercial on-purpose propylene production technologies have accounted for less than 5% of total worldwide propylene production, with the majority supplied as a by-product of steam crackers and fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) units. However, the recent success of OCT means that on-purpose technology projects will account for over 30% of new propylene capacity coming on-stream in the next few years.
With the OCT process, lower-value butylenes are reacted with ethylene to produce propylene. The ethylene stream can vary from dilute ethylene typical of the FCC unit to polymer-grade ethylene. Possible C4 feeds include the mixed C4s produced in steam cracking, raffinate C4s from MTBE or butadiene extraction, and C4s produced in an FCC unit. The OCT plant represents the lowest capital route for propylene production, with typical payouts of less than one year. The ultra-high purity propylene product produced by the OCT process exceeds polymer-grade specification and offers potential operating cost savings in downstream polypropylene plants.
The CATOFIN propane dehydrogenation process is a commercially proven, fixed-bed process for the production of propylene from propane. Utilizing recently enhanced catalyst technology, the CATOFIN process achieves the highest selectivity (>92 mol%) and conversion available for propane dehydrogenation.