Usually alpha olefins are produced by oligomerisation of ethylene. An alternative production method is extracting these components from Coal to Liquid product streams.
A specific challenge when designing an alpha olefins extraction unit is dealing with close boiling azeotropic mixtures. Furthermore catalysts used in polypropylene and polyethylene production are sensitive to a variety of impurities so product specifications for the copolymers tend to be strict.
One of the major applications of alpha olefins is the use as co-monomer for the production of polyethylene and polypropylene. Adding 1-hexene or 1-octene or, less common, 1-pentene to the polymer production increases strength and flexibility of the polyolefins.
Since Coal to Liquid product streams include besides the hydrocarbons a wide variety of oxygenates such as alcohols, aldehydes, ethers, ketones and organic acids, the separation of the alpha-olefins from those catalyst poisons is the major challenge when producing alpha-olefins form CtL product streams. Several process steps such as conventional distillation, chemical transformations, superfractionations and extractive distillations are required to achieve the necessary product purities.
Linde Engineering has assisted clients in the development and optimization of processes to tackle these design challenges by applying, among others, extractive distillation and partitioned wall columns.
Through a long tradition of performing high quality process design work Linde Engineering has proven to be capable to assist clients with those specific design challenges that arise out of the development of innovating technologies.
Secunda, South Africa
48,000 t/yr 1-Octene
Linear Alpha Olefin Plant (LAO)