Nouryon unveils revolutionary path to more sustainable ethylene amines

October 16, 2019 |

Looks like we were a day early on our story about the revolutionary pace of activity in the production of biobased amines, when we looked at the topic yesterday in “Amination Studios” here.

Ethylene amines from ethylene oxide

Today, Nouryon inaugurated a demonstration plant in Stenungsund, Sweden to showcase a new technology platform to produce ethylene amines and their derivatives. The technology, which is based on ethylene oxide, allows for selective production of a wide range of end products, enabling Nouryon to expand its ethylene amine product offering. Front-End Engineering Design activities for a world-scale manufacturing facility based on this new technology are expected to start by the end of 2019. “

Nouryon has produced its first ethylene amines products in the demonstration plant, confirming the new technology on an industrially relevant scale and marking the next step towards full commercialization. Ethylene amines are key building blocks in several growth applications, including epoxy curing, oil and road additives and wet strength paper resins.

“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 at Nouryon. “In addition, 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.”

Nouryon is a top producer of ethylene amines. In addition to its existing production plant in Stenungsund, it also produces ethylene amines in Ningbo, China. More on Nouryon’s latest, here.

Biobased ethylene oxide from ethanol

Croda’s Atlas Point facility

Now, what exactly makes this sustainable. Can you make a biobased ethylene oxide, from which to proceed to ethylene amines? Turns out, you can.

As was announced in 2015, Croda International spent $170 million at its New Castle, Del., to build the first commercial U.S. facility to dehydrate ethanol into ethylene and then oxidize it to ethylene oxide. The company’s focus is nonionic surfactants made from sustainable feedstocks. Previously, Croda produces surfactants at the site by reacting tropical oil derivatives with synthetic ethylene oxide. The firm used technology from Scientific Design. In 2018, Croda won the ICIS Surfactants Award for this pioneering bio-ethylene oxide plant.

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