The dimethyl ether/methanol to olefins (DMTO) process won State Technological Invention Awards First Prize at the 2014 National Science and Technology Awards Conference held successfully at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 9th January, 2015. Chinese President Xi Jinping presented the certificate to Prof. Liu Zhongmin who is the president of SYN and deputy director of DICP. General manager of SYN Mr. Du Guoliang and vice general manager of SYN Mr. Ma Xingmei were also present at this award ceremony.
The dimethyl ether/methanol to olefins (DMTO) process converts methanol to light olefin – predominantly propylene and ethylene – and water in the presence of an acid catalyst. The process is characterized by its high product yield and selectivity, and low investment cost and energy consumption.
The reaction takes place in an FCC-type, dense-phase, circulating, fluidized-bed reaction system with continuous catalyst regeneration. The catalyst is a molecular sieve acid catalyst and its high selectivity to light olefins is the result of both the activity of the acid sites and the favorable pore diameter of the molecular sieve framework structure. Methanol and water are preheated and fed to the fluidized-bed reactor and exposed to catalyst in the reaction zone at temperatures between 400 and 550°C.Part of the fluidized catalyst from the reaction zone continuously circulates in a closed loop between the reaction system and the catalyst regeneration system, where coke is removed from the catalyst. The reacted gas is cooled by interchange with the feed gas and by direct-contact with circulating water. Water formed during the reaction is condensed. Both reaction and catalyst regeneration are strongly exothermic. Heat integration is applied to improve energy efficiency.
DICP has successfully commercialized its technology in partnership with SYN Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (SYN) and Luoyang Engineering Corporation, Sinopec (LPEC) and become one of the most professional and authoritative licensors of methanol to olefins technology. With SYN as the major licensor, the DMTO process began licensing in 2008 and has thus far been taken up by 20 companies for a total planned and operating olefin capacity of 11.26 MMTA. The Shenhua Baotou DMTO plant, the first of these, successfully started up in August 2010, and has been run continuously for 4 years. A second operating commercial facility using the DMTO technology, Fund Energy (Ningbo) DMTO, was successfully started up in Jan. 2013.The year 2014 is a peak year of DMTO plant startup, totally 5plants have been successfully started up and on operation, including Yanchang Petroleum Group (Jingbian), China Coal (Yulin), Baofeng Energy (Ningxia), Shenda Chemicals (Shandong) and PCEC (Pucheng)(DMTO II). This brings a new capacity of 2.8 MMTA olefins and an increase economic benefit over 6 billion RMB. The total capacity of olefins from the seven DMTO plants on operation has reached 4 MMTA, which drive the rapid formation of methanol to olefins strategic emerging industry in China. In the international market, especially in North American and Iran, a “natural gas-methanol-olefin” value chain will be formed due to the low price natural gas resources.
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