Evonik and thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions have agreed to grant a license for HPPO technology to Zibo Qixiang Tengda Chemical Co. to produce propylene oxide. Corresponding agreements were signed by the parties in Guangzhou in China. In addition, Evonik has licensed the production of hydrogen peroxide for the exclusive supply of the propylene oxide plant to Qixiang Tengda. Furthermore, the companies have entered into a long-term agreement for the supply of the respective HPPO catalyst.
Propylene oxide is used mainly for the production of polyurethane foams, which are used in automotive parts, furniture upholstery, thermal insulation, coating materials, sports shoes, and other sports equipment. The global market for polyurethane is expected to grow with China being one of the most important growth markets. Tightening environmental regulations support the strategic focus of the Active Oxygens Business Line of Evonik, to further promote and expand the green HPPO technology, including through licensing, on top of developing the traditional hydrogen peroxide business.
Claus Rettig, Chairman of the Board of Evonik Resource Efficiency segment, explained: “We’re proud of having gained Qixiang as a new strategic partner. With environmental awareness on the rise in China, HPPO is the technology of choice for sustainable production of propylene oxide because it produces no major byproducts apart from water.”
In the next few years Qixiang Tengda will construct a plant complex at the Zibo site (in China’s Shandong province), where up to 300 kt/y of propylene oxide and the amount of H2O2 required for the HPPO process will be produced annually. The initial planning phase will start by the middle of August 2019. The plant is expected to come on stream in the first half of 2022.
HPPO stands for “hydrogen peroxide to propylene oxide”, a process in which propylene oxide (PO) is obtained directly from hydrogen peroxide and propylene. What makes this possible is an HPPO catalyst based on titanium silicalite (TS-1) developed by Evonik especially for the process. Compared to conventional production processes for propylene oxide, the HPPO process requires a significantly lower investment volume and is more profitable. In addition, it is very environmentally friendly, since it is characterized by a high selectivity and no significant amounts of byproducts occur other than water, said Evonik.
The chemical company Qixiang Tengda is part of the Cedar Holdings Group. The company, with a workforce of more than 2,000, possesses a high degree of expertise and has many years of experience in C4 chemistry. Last year it generated sales of more than EUR 3.5 billion (~CNY 27.9 billion).