Polyethylene Process by INEOS Technologies

The Innovene G (gas phase) process produces linear-lowdensity polyethylene (LLDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) using Ziegler-Natta, chromium or metallocene catalysts.

Polyethylene Process by INEOS Technologies

Ziegler-Natta and metallocene catalysts are directly injected into the reactor from storage where as chromium catalysts are injected following activation of the catalyst via INEOS proprietary technology. The INEOS catalyst portfolio enables the production of a full-range of PE products with the same swing reactor using these three main catalyst families.

Accurate control of all product properties, such as density and melt index (MI), is achieved by continuous and automatic adjustment of the process gas composition and operating conditions. The reactor (1) is designed to ensure good mixing and a uniform temperature. Operating conditions within the bed are mild; the pressure is about 20 barg, and the temperature between 75°C and 110°C. Polymer particles grow in the fluidized-bed reactor where the fluidization gas is a mixture of ethylene, comonomer, hydrogen and nitrogen. Fine particles leaving the reactor with the exit gas are collected by cyclones (2), which are unique to the Innovene gas-phase technology and recycled to the reactor. This feature ensures that fine particles do not circulate in the reaction loop, where they could foul the compressor, exchanger and reactor grid. The cyclones also prevent product contamination during transitions. Unreacted gas is cooled (3) and separated from any liquid (4), compressed (5) and returned to the reactor, maintaining the growing polymer particles at the desired temperature. Catalysts are incorporated into the final product without any catalyst removal step.

The reactor and almost all other equipment are made from carbon steel. Polymer powder is withdrawn from the reactor via a proprietary lateral discharge system and separated from associated process gas in a simple degassing stage using hot recirculating nitrogen. The powder is then pneumatically conveyed to the finishing section where additives are incorporated before pelletization and storage.

The low-pressure technology and ease of operation ensures that the Innovene process is inherently safe, best-in-class environmentally and economically attractive with regard to both investment CAPEX and OPEX.

Products: A wide range of LLDPE and HDPE products can be produced within the same reactor. LLDPE is used in film, injection molding and extrusion applications and can be made using either butene or hexene as the comonomer. Narrow molecular weight HDPE provides superior injection molding and rotational molding grades whereas broad molecular weight HDPE is used for blow molding, pipe, film and other extrusion applications. mLLDPE are high peformance linear low film grade products based on metallocene catalyst using hexene-1 or octene-1 as comonomer. The performance of this product are key differentiator in several film markets segments like food packaging, lamination and stretch film.

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