Nouryon Develops Sustainable Ethylene Amines Process

06.11.2019 -

Nouryon has inaugurated a demonstration plant in Stenungsund, Sweden, for its newly developed technology to produce ethylene amines.

The technology, described by CEO Charlie Shaver as potentially becoming an industry “game-changer”, is based on ethylene oxide (EO) and has an improved sustainability profile compared to current processes.

The company said it has successfully produced the first ethylene amine products at the plant, confirming the technology at industrial scale and marking the next step toward full commercialization.

Front-end engineering design for a world-scale manufacturing plant based on the technology is expected to begin by the end of this year.

“The ability to extend our EO-based ethylene amines portfolio to selectively produce compounds including diethylenetriamine (DETA), triethylenetetramine (TETA) and other higher amines is a major opportunity, and we are excited about this breakthrough,” said Joppe Smit, general manager ethylene amines.

“In addition, Smit said, the new technology significantly reduces raw material consumption and substantially improves both cost and environmental performance by nearly eliminating all waste when compared with existing processes.”

Ethylene amines are key building blocks in several growth applications, including epoxy curing, oil and road additives and wet strength paper resins. Nouryon also produces the amines at its site in Ningbo, China.

In separate news, Nouryon and US-based startup Forge Nano have agreed to explore a joint collaboration in ultra-thin coatings for high-growth applications, including batteries and catalysts. The Dutch group said the atomic layer deposition (ALD) technology also has potential to open up entirely new applications.

The companies have complementary activities in ultra-thin coatings. Nouryon supplies metalorganic building blocks, including trimethylaluminum (TMAL) and diethylzinc (DEZ), while Forge Nano develops precision nano-coating technology.

“These building blocks enable ultra-thin coatings to be engineered and assembled one atomic layer at a time onto the surface of materials, enhancing their physical properties without affecting overall functionality, which opens up entirely new frontiers on material performance,” said Forge Nano’s founder and CEO Paul Lichty. “It is now possible to control coating surfaces at the sub-nanoscale level and produce them at a commercial scale.”

Nouryon’s vice president of business development, Steve Hunt, added that the company is targeting multiple applications in catalysts, batteries and other markets through the agreement.