in Petrochemical industry Ethylene oxide, properly called Oxirane, is the organic compound with the formula C2H4O. Ethylene oxide is industrially produced by the reaction between ethylene and oxygen or direct oxidation of ethylene.
This product will be produced in a fixed bed reactor at the presence of silver catalyst loading on Alumina. It is a colorless flammable gas at ambient temperature, with a faintly sweet odor. Because of the unstable chain in EO chemical structure, it is one of the most frequently feed in many chemical processes.
In the past, the production of this material was based on chloridine process but nowadays due to the performance of this method, it is produced by the reaction between ethylene and pure oxygen at the temperature of 240°C to 270 °C and at a pressure of 15 to 25 bar at the presence of silver catalyst.
In order to produce one kg of ethylene oxide by oxidation with pure oxygen, ethylene is required at a rate of 0.82 to 0.88 %wt. In the event, the air be used in the process instead of pure oxygen, the amount of required ethylene will be increased to 0.9. Hence the use of pure oxygen is preferred.
Due to the high reactivity of ethylene oxide in the presence of oxygen, strict laws transportation has been legislated in the world which has made the EO transportation so difficult and expensive. For example, in order to avoid the risk of transporting and storing, it must get cold in a liquid form and be stored at temperatures less than 10 degrees Celsius. Therefore important feature of this project is the production of ethylene oxide within the complex, the EO purchased and transportation cost will be saved.
Ethylene oxide with numerous applications is one of the most widely petrochemical products. The major use of ethylene oxide is for synthesis of ethylene glycols (MEG, DEG, and TEG).
DEG is mainly used as dehumidifier gases, softener, solvents and emulsifiers. Also this product is used in the production of unsaturated polyester resin and polyurethane resin
Drying, gases dehumidifier, aromatic hydrocarbon extraction and separation from non-aromatics are TEG applications. Often ethylene oxide consumed in a mixture of 10-30 % carbon dioxide or a mixture of 12% dichloro-di-fluoro methane. The second type is more effective as disinfectants.
The most famous producer and licensors for ethylene oxide products are Shell and Scientific Design.
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