Technip buys BP ethanol-to-ethylene process

Article by Staff Writer

TECHNIP has bought the Hummingbird ethanol-to-ethylene process from BP Chemicals.

The process dehydrates ethanol into polymer-grade ethylene in a one-step process using a proprietary catalyst. Hummingbird operates at milder conditions and requires no separation of product so saves on operating and capital costs.

Announcing the purchase, Technip noted that the process can use a wide range of ethanol feedstocks, can be readily integrated into existing ethylene facilities, and that the advanced catalyst simplifies the processing scheme while increasing selectivity.

“Hummingbird allows us to offer customers an alternative method to produce sustainable products from bio-based materials,” said Stan Knez, president of Technip Stone & Webster Process Technology.

When BP first announced the technology in 2013, it said the process was not designed to compete with existing technologies to produce ethylene via naphtha cracking. Charles Cameron, BP’s head of downstream technology, expected it would find use in low-to medium-scale applications where small amounts – 50,000–300,000 t – of ethylene are required and a large-scale cracker is simply not feasible, or where naphtha is not readily available. He added that it would also be suitable for applications where incremental production growth might be needed.

Technip will license the technology out of its centre in Milton Keynes, UK.

Since acquiring process technology forms Stone & Webster in 2012 and Zimmer in 2014, Technip’s portfolio of onshore processes has come to focus on five main areas: petrochemicals including olefins; refining including cracking; hydrogen and syngas; polymers including nylon and polyolefins; and what it describes as gas monetisation including gas to liquids.

Article by Staff Writer

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