Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., has fully commissioned a 750,000-tonne/year propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit as part of the previously announced ethylene production expansion and upgrade project at its Oyster Creek complex in Freeport, Tex. (OGJ, Mar. 7, 2016, p. 62).
Equipped with Honeywell International Inc. subsidiary UOP LLC’s C3 Oleflex process technology for manufacturing on-purpose propylene from propane (OGJ Online, May 2, 2013), the PDH unit began commercial operations in December 2015, and after completing its performance test in less than 2 months, is now operating at full capacity, Dow said.
The unit, which allows the company to replace purchased propylene with its own cost-advantaged production, ultimately will enable growth in attractive markets across North and South America, said Jim Fitterling, Dow’s president and chief operating officer.
In addition to technology licensing, UOP also provided basic engineering design, the modular continuous catalytic reforming (CCR) unit, control systems, catalyst, adsorbent, and start-up services for the PDH unit, according to Honeywell.
Dow also said it continues to make progress on the associated 1.5 million-tpy ethylene unit at the Oyster Creek complex, as well as other supporting infrastructure and derivative investment projects of its performance plastics division at Dow sites across the US Gulf Coast.
Completion of those derivative investment projects will be synchronized with commissioning of the new ethylene unit, which remains on schedule for startup in 2017, Dow said.
Since 2012, Dow has invested in a number of ethylene-related projects along Gulf Coast to take advantage of low-cost feedstocks derived from US shale gas production. These include:
• Restarting an ethylene cracker near Hahnville, La., by yearend 2012.
• Improving ethane feedstock flexibility for an ethylene cracker in Plaquemine, La. in 2015.
• Building a propylene plant at Dow’s Texas operations for start-up in 2015 (OGJ Online, July 29, 2013).
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