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JM and Dow's joint technology wins Best Process award at ICIS Innovation Awards

17th November 2020

Johnson Matthey (JM) and Dow Global Technologies (Dow) are winners of the Best Process award for this year’s ICIS Innovation Awards for our joint LP OXOSM process to produce Isononyl Alcohol (INA).

Each year the ICIS Innovation Awards recognise companies paving the way in product, process and sustainability. The awards are given in five categories to truly revolutionary projects that solve problems and provide solutions or demonstrate an innovative approach to business, the environment and sustainability.

JM and Dow have worked together for over 45 years and bring a vast understanding of chemistry and catalysts to the table. Dow provides years of experience in ligand chemistry and synthesis for hydroformylation as well as operational expertise and experience as an oxo alcohol producer. And JM offers unrivalled knowledge in the development and manufacture of hydrogenation catalysts, engineering and process development.

The two companies began working on the INA project back in 2013. LP OXO technology is used in plasticiser alcohol production; these INA plasticisers are essential ingredients in the manufacture of PVC, wire and cables, automobile and medical applications.

Traditional INA production through a high pressure cobalt process is capital intensive due to the need for high pressure equipment while the high process temperatures generate significant levels of byproducts.

JM and Dow have collaborated to develop an INA process that combines the production capabilities of historical cobalt based processes with the economic benefits associated with LP OXO technology. In addition to meeting the “four S’s” of catalyst performance (speed, selectivity, stability, separation), the proprietary ligand used in the LP OXO process to produce INA yields a final product from mixed octenes, typically from a butene dimerisation process. This is comparable to that which is produced by existing commercial manufacturers of INA.

The LP OXO process operates at lower temperatures compared to high pressure processes. This means unwanted byproducts form at a slower rate. Additionally, the milder process conditions provide a lower risk profile and reduce energy consumption with savings in electricity and cooling water, making the overall operating costs associated with LP OXO technology lower than other commercially available INA processes. Almost zero wastewater effluent from the process, high feedstock efficiency and lower energy consumption result in a reduced environmental footprint of the facility.

The first license of LP OXO process technology for INA production was issued this year to the China-based company, Zibo Qixiang Tengda Chemical Company, Ltd. for its new manufacturing facility. The plant will be built at their integrated petrochemical complex in Zibo City, China and produce 200,000 metric tons of annual capacity.

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