Development of Highly Selective Process for Mono-Ethylene Glycol Production from Ethylene Oxide via Ethylene Carbonate Using Phosphonium Salt Catalyst
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A new process for the production of mono-ethylene glycol (MEG; HOCH2CH2OH) was developed by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) to meet its growing demand in the world. While the MEG selectivity of conventional non-catalyzed process is around 89% under typical conditions, that of the new process exceeds 99%. The key of the high selectivity is the two-step synthesis via ethylene carbonate. The first step reaction is catalyzed by phosphonium salts and generates ethylene carbonate as an intermediate. This is followed by hydrolysis of ethylene carbonate in the second step. Several commercial plants of the new process have already been operated world-wide.
KeywordsMono-ethylene glycol Phosphonium salt Ethylene carbonate Carbonation Carbon dioxide
The author is grateful for the cooperation by Shell Global Solutions in applying this technology to real commercial plants.
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