To produce ethylene oxide (EO) from ethylene using oxygen as the oxidizing agent.
Ethylene and oxygen in a diluent gas made up of a mixture of mainly methane or nitrogen along with carbon dioxide and argon are fed to a tubular catalytic reactor (1). The temperature of reaction is controlled by adjusting the pressure of the steam which is generated in the shell side of the reactor and removes the heat of reaction. The EO produced is removed from the reaction gas by scrubbing with water (2) after heat exchange with the circulating reactor feed gas.
Byproduct CO2 is removed from the scrubbed reaction gas (3, 4) before it is recompressed and returned to the reaction system where ethylene and oxygen concentrations are restored before returning to the EO reactor.
The EO is steam stripped (5) from the scrubbing solution and recovered as a more concentrated water solution (6) for feed to an EO purification system (7, 8) where purified product is made along with a high aldehyde EO product.
Product quality: The EO product meets the low aldehyde specification of 10 ppm maximum, which is required for EO derivatives production.
Product yield: The ethylene yield to purified EO is 1.2 kg per kg ethylene feed. In addition, a significant amount of technical-grade glycol may be recovered by processing waste streams.
Licensor: Scientific Design Company, Inc.