April 2006

Special Report: Petrochemical Developments

Maximize butene-1 yields

A new reactor system capitalizes on shifting butene-2 to butene-1 from C4 fractions

Butene-1 is used principally as a comonomer to produce certain grades of linear-low-density polyethylene. The current world capacity for butene-1 is about 1.3 million metric tpy (1.3 MM metric tpy). Demand is expected to increase 5 – 6%/yr through 2015. To support this future demand, an additional capacity of 800,000 metric (800 M metric tpy) is forecast depending upon current capacity utilization rates. Butene-1 can be obtained by separating C4 fractions from refinery or steam cracker streams or by the dimerization of ethylene. One option to meet future demand is with a new double-bond-isomerization process that significantly improves the butene-1 production from petrochemical or ref

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