Acrylonitrile Process by INEOS Technologies

The INEOS acrylonitrile technology, known as the SOHIO acrylonitrile process, is used in the manufacture of over 95% of the world’s acrylonitrile. INEOS Technologies licenses the acrylonitrile process technology and manufactures and markets the catalyst that is used in the acrylonitrile process.

Acrylonitrile Process

The INEOS acrylonitrile technology uses its proven fluidizedbed reactor system. The feeds containing propylene, ammonia and air are introduced into the fluid-bed catalytic reactor, which operates at 5 psig–30 psig with a temperature range of 750°F–950°F (400°C–510°C). This exothermic reaction yields acrylonitrile, byproducts and valuable steam.

In the recovery section, the effluent vapor from the reactor is scrubbed to recover the organics. Non-condensables may be vented or incinerated depending on local regulations. In the purification section, hydrogen cyanide, water and impurities are separated from the crude acrylonitrile in a series of fractionation steps to produce acrylonitrile product that meets specification. Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) may be recovered as a byproduct or incinerated.

Basic chemistry
Propylene + Ammonia + Oxygen tAcrylonitrile + Water

Products and economics: Production includes acrylonitrile (main product) and byproducts. Hydrogen cyanide may be recovered as a byproduct of the process or incinerated. In addition, ammonium sulfate-rich streams may be processed to recover sulfuric acid or concentrated and purified for sale of ammonium sulfate crystals depending upon economic considerations. The INEOS acrylonitrile process offers robust, proven technology using high-yield catalysts resulting in low-cost operation. The process is also designed to provide high onstream factor.

Catalyst: The development and commercialization of the first fluid-bed catalyst system for the manufacture of acrylonitrile was complete in 1960. This catalytic ammoxidation process was truly revolutionary. Since the introduction of this technology, INEOS has developed and commercialized several improved catalyst formulations. These catalyst advancements have improved yields and efficiencies vs. each prior generation to continually lower the cost to manufacture acrylonitrile. INEOS continues to improve upon and benefit from this long and successful history of catalyst research and development. In fact, many of INEOS’s licensees have been able to achieve increased plant capacity through a simple catalyst changeout, without the need for reactor or other hardware modifications. INEOS’s catalyst system does not require changeout overtime, unless the licensee chooses to introduce one of INEOS’s newer, more economically attractive catalyst systems.

The primary use for acrylonitrile is in the manufacture of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) for acrylic fiber, which finds extensive uses in apparel, household furnishings, and industrial markets and applications, such as carbon fiber. Other end-use markets such as nitrile rubber, styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) copolymer and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) terpolymers have extensive commercial and industrial applications as tough, durable synthetic rubbers and engineering plastics. Acrylonitrile is also used to manufacture adipinitrile, which is the feedstock used to make Nylon 6,6.

Licensor: INEOS Technologies.

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