Dow Retrofits Cracker for More Propylene

  • Dow Retrofits Cracker for More Propylene (c) DOWDow Retrofits Cracker for More Propylene (c) DOW

Dow will install its fluidized catalytic dehydrogenation (FCDh) technology in one of its mixed-feed crackers in Plaquemine, Louisiana, USA, to produce on-purpose propylene. The retrofit will add 100,000 t/y of propylene and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

According to Dow, its FCDh technology can cut capital outlay by up to 25% and reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20%. It said the technology can be used either in a stand-alone propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant or integrated with existing crackers to provide plug-and-play capabilities for a variety of plant configurations.

“Deploying FCDh technology supports Dow’s continued focus on delivering low-risk, low-cost, and high-return projects while reducing the energy intensity and carbon footprint associated with conventional technologies,” said Keith Cleason, vice president of Dow’s olefins, aromatics and alternatives business. “Retrofitting our Plaquemine cracker will enhance asset utilization and leverage the US shale gas advantage to meet growing customer demand for Dow’s differentiated polyolefins products.”

Dow expanded the ethylene capacity of the same cracker by more than 225,000 t/y in 2016, also adding the ability to crack ethane while maintaining the flexibility to crack propane, butane and naphtha.

The company explained that this latest project has been spurred by US cracker operators, including itself, consuming ethane (derived from shale gas) instead of heavier feedstocks, which yields less co-product, including propylene. This has created a supply/demand gap in the US for propylene to feed downstream derivative production.

PetroLogistics announced last month that it had licensed Dow’s FCDh technology for a PDH facility that it plans to build on the US Gulf Coast. The company is carrying out front end engineering design and has been evaluating two sites to locate the 500,000 t/y plant.

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