Synthesis of esters from acids and olefins

Synthesis of esters from acids and olefins

F O C U S chemical complex in Ruwais. The project includes an ethane cracker with ethylene capacity of 1.5 M tonne/y; a polyethylene (PE) plant with o...

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F O C U S chemical complex in Ruwais. The project includes an ethane cracker with ethylene capacity of 1.5 M tonne/y; a polyethylene (PE) plant with output of 540,000 tonne/y; a plant that will be based on the new olefins conversion process; and two units to produce a combined 800,000 tonne/y of polypropylene using the propylene from the olefins conversion unit. The PE plant, which is slated to be brought online in mid-2010, will process 540,000 tonne/y of the ethylene production. The olefins conversion unit will process the remaining 960,000 tonne/y of ethylene production. The new olefins conversion technology involves two steps: the conversion of ethylene into butanes called the dimerization step and the conversion of the butanes and ethylene into propylene called the metathesis step. The process has only been demonstrated on a 100,000 tonne/y pilot plant. Japan Chemical Web, 27 Apr 2010 (Website:

New technology for production of biodegradable plastic Topsoe has developed a process in cooperation with Technical University of Denmark, making it possible to convert carbohydrates from biomass to lactic acid using a catalyst. Lactic acid is used for the production of biodegradable plastic. A catalyst converting biomass: this is the first time the process takes place over a catalyst – previously, biomass has been converted to lactic acid using fermentation. As the process may now take place using an inorganic catalyst, it will be possible to produce lactic acid using new and more costefficient processes. The research results have been published in an article in Science on 30 Apr 2010. Copying natural processes: The process developed by researchers at Topsoe and DTU Chemistry, mirrors the process seen in biological systems. “You may say that the catalyst acts in the same way as bacteria do in the natural fermentation process,” says Esben Taarning, who is one of the researchers behind the discovery. Esben Taarning explains: “By modifying the acidity in catalysts used for oil refining, we may change their catalytic properties, enabling

JUNE 2010



carbohydrates to be converted into lactic acid products. Until now, this form of conversion has been limited to biological systems.” Press release from: Haldor Topsoe A/S, Nymollevej 55, PO Box 213, DK 2800 Lyngby, Denmark. Tel: +45 4527 2000. Fax: +45 4527 2999. Website: ( 5 May 2010)

ENVIRONMENT GE announces breakthrough result in Hydrocarbon Lean NOx Catalyst technology GE announced a key milestone in the development of a proprietary silverbased Hydrocarbon Lean NOx Catalyst (HC-LNC) after treatment solution designed to reduce harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel engines. Through a joint development with GE, Tenneco Inc, and Umicore, researchers have demonstrated NOx conversions on an engine between 85-95% across a temperature window of 325-425°C, using E85 as the reductant. The HCLNC system reduces NOx emissions as effectively as urea-based SCR systems and provides an option to those market segments seeking an alternative to urea-based selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology Press release from: Technology Ventures (GE), c/o General Electric Company, Fairfield, CT 06828, USA. Tel: +1 203 373 2211. Website: (13 Apr 2010)

Novel oxidative desulfurization process A novel petroleum desulfurization process is being developed jointly by the Saudi Arabian Oil Co and the University of Oxford. The petroleum is treated with hydrogen peroxide, acetic acid, and a sodium tungstate catalyst. This oxidises the sulfur compounds to sulfones which can be removed by solvent extraction. This laboratory process has the potential to reduce the sulfur content of diesel to below 50 ppm.

PET and plant-derived plastics. The new process will involve the introduction of organocatalysts to the synthetic polymer formula to form well-defined, biodegradable molecules. Materials World, Apr 2010, 18 (4), 16

PATENTS Acrolein from glycerol A process for making acrolein by the vapour-phase dehydrogenation of glycerol over a zeotype catalyst. The exemplified catalyst has the H-MFI structure, an alumina/silica ratio in a specified range, and is optionally partially exchanged with lithium. The binder content must be below 15%. US 7,718,829, Nippon Shokubai Co Ltd, Osaka, Japan, 18 May 2010

Catalytic filter for diesel exhaust An exhaust filter comprising a honeycomb structure (eg of cordierite), a catalytic layer (eg platinum on alumina/ceria), and a heat-resistant fibrous layer (eg alumina fibres containing platinum). US 7,718,143, Toyota Jidosha KK, Aichi-ken, Japan, 18 May 2010

Ethanol from syngas Three catalysts are used in series. The first hydrogenates the CO to alcohols, primarily methanol, using a copper/zinc catalyst. The second converts the alcohol mixture to ethanol, and the third hydrogenates the by-product acids and aldehydes to ethanol. US 7,718,832, Pacific Renewable Fuels Inc, McClellan, CA, USA, 18 May 2010

Synthesis of esters from acids and olefins

Oil & Gas Journal, 17 May 2010, 108 (18), 41-47

IBM and Stanford University develops new recycling process A new recycling process developed by IBM and Stanford University can improve the reusability of common

It is known to synthesise esters from carboxylic acids and olefins using an acid catalyst. In this invention the catalyst is a heteropoly acid used in the presence of a specified quantity of water. US, RE41,341, Ineos Europe Ltd, UK, 18 May 2010