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Sinopec installs UOP technology at Chinese petrochemical site

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Honeywell has announced that the first commercial installation of its UOP MaxEne Process successfully entered production at Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Company’s (YPC) integrated refinery and petrochemical facility in Nanjing, China.

The new technology from Honeywell UOP generates substantially higher yields of the chemical components used to make plastics, and has processed more than 2.5 million t of naphtha feed since entering production, meeting all of its performance criteria, including yield quality and quantity.

The facility is a cooperative project between the company and Sinopec to jointly commercialise the process based on Honeywell UOP’s pilot plant technology. In addition to licensing, Honeywell UOP provided the basic engineering, key equipment, adsorbents and technical support for the unit.

“The success of first commercial installation at Sinopec YPC demonstrates how MaxEne technology can help producers to make better use of limited naphtha, improve petrochemical yields and increase profitability,” said Mike Millard, Vice President and General Manager of Honeywell UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment business unit. “Through collaboration with YPC, Sinopec Tech and Sinopec Engineering, we advanced the boundaries of the technology to better meet the growing demand for petrochemicals and transportation fuels.”

“We are glad to be the partner with Honeywell UOP for the first commercial installation of MaxEne technology,” said Xie Zaiku, Chief Director of Sinopec’s Department of Science and Technology. “Sinopec is among the leading forces for transforming the Chinese oil and gas industry to be environmentally responsible while driving commercial excellence. Honeywell UOP’s focus on hydrocarbon molecule management helps Chinese players like Sinopec to seamlessly integrate refining and petrochemical complexes and make the best use of our resources.”

Worldwide, naphtha is the most common feedstock used for the production of gasoline, aromatics and light olefins such as ethylene and propylene. But refiners lack the flexibility to switch production between these products.

The MaxEne process separates full range naphtha into a stream rich in normal paraffins, and a second stream of iso-paraffins, naphthenes and aromatics. The normal paraffins are ideal for steam crackers because they produce high yields of light olefins. The remaining components are perfect for catalytic reforming units because they produce high yields of aromatics, which are the building blocks for solvents, detergents and other materials. The process results in up to a 40% higher yield of ethylene from an existing naphtha cracker with no loss in propylene. It also produces 5% more reformate for blending into gasoline or up to 10 percent more aromatics.

The new process is the latest technology in the family of Honeywell UOP Sorbex™ adsorptive separation processes. Honeywell UOP has licensed more than 100 process units based on its Sorbex technology.

Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Co. Ltd (formerly Yangzi Petrochemical Co., Ltd) is a wholly owned subsidiary under the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation. The company is primarily engaged in refining crude oil, and producing and marketing hydrocarbon derivatives. It is one of the largest suppliers of pure benzene, para-xylene, ortho-xylene, PTA, polyethylene, polypropylene, ethylene glycol, butadiene and ethylene oxide in China. Sinopec Tech (formerly Sinopec Technology Company) is a holding subsidiary of China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC) that licenses proprietary refining and petrochemical technologies, and provides technical services, including engineering and consulting to clients worldwide.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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