Process Technologies

Propylene Production

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.

Pyrolysis/Steam Cracking

Lummus Technology’s proprietary ethylene steam cracking process is the most widely-applied process for the production of polymer grade ethylene, polymer grade propylene and butadiene. The process is noted for its performance, including high product yield and energy-efficiency, low investment cost and operating reliability.

Olefins Conversion (OCT)

Olefins Conversion Technology (OCT) employs metathesis and isomerization chemistry to produce propylene from reacting ethylene with C4 and/or C5 olefins. This is the only commercially demonstrated route to propylene using metathesis chemistry.


The Ethylene Dimerization process dimerizes ethylene to produce butene-2 and butene-1. The catalyst is formulated to offer a high selectivity to butene-2. The butene-2 to butene-1 product ratio is about nine to one.

Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO)

Lummus Technology's Light Olefins Recovery Technology is the leading recovery technology used for MTO reactors. It has been used in twelve units which are in operation or under design, producing over 3.6 million metric tons of ethylene and over 4.0 million tons of propylene. It is known for its high product recovery, low energy consumption, low capital costs and high reliability. 

FCC/High Propylene FCC (Indmax FCC)

Indmax Fluid Catalytic Cracking (I-FCCSM) is a novel process to produce propylene, ethylene and butylenes in refineries directly from heavy residues. The Indmax FCC technology is a unique solution (a mother unit) for vertical integration of refinery and petrochemical complexes.

CATOFIN® Propane/Butane Dehydrogenation

The CATOFIN® technology is a unique process for the production of olefins, such as propylene (from propane) and iso-butylene (from iso-butane).

Complementary Technologies (Propylene Production)

The following licensed technologies can bring added value by supplementing or upgrading by-products from the primary propylene production processes:

Proprietary Supply (Propylene Production)

Lummus Technology supports our petrochemical and refining technologies with a variety of engineered products that facilitate conversion, enhance productivity and lower production cost.