Natural detergent alcohols process

Johnson Matthey has licensed the greatest number of plants worldwide for the production of natural detergent alcohols (NDA), also known as fatty alcohols.

The DAVY™ natural detergent alcohol process converts fatty acids to non-acidic intermediate methyl esters and hydrogenates these to alcohols. Methanol vapour passes counter current to the fatty acid ensuring almost complete conversion of the fatty acids to methyl esters. These are fed directly to a low pressure (40bar) vapour phase hydrogenation process over a fixed bed of chrome free copper catalyst to produce a high purity crude mixed alcohol product stream. The product alcohol is then refined before being polished to convert any residual carbonyls (principally aldehydes) in the product to alcohols.

Our process is designed with an esterification step prior to hydrogenolysis. This achieves greater efficiency, ease of operation and product quality as well as allowing use of lower-cost materials of construction for the hydrogenolysis and refining sections. JM's technology uses natural oils, typically palm kernal, offering a bio-feedstock alternative to the petrochemicals route.

Revamp designs to improve plant performance

Johnson Matthey also offer revamp designs to improve NDA plant performance. Our offer includes capacity increases, product quality improvements and heat integrations to get the most out of your plant.

For further information on the DAVY natural detergent alcohol process please contact us.

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Licensed processes team