Propylene oxide - The clean Evonik-Uhde HPPO technology


Evonik and thyssenkrupp Uhde have jointly developed a co-product-free process for the production of propylene oxide (PO) via hydrogen peroxide. Apart from the economic benefits, it offers numerous other advantages compared with current state-of-the-art processes.

In 2001, Evonik and thyssenkrupp Uhde announced an exclusive partnership to develop the new process. Evonik investigated the process and developed a catalyst optimized for the particular purpose, while thyssenkrupp Uhde contributed its expertise in process engineering and the design and construction of chemical and other industrial plants.

Since 2008, the Evonik-Uhde HPPO technology has been in successful commercial operation in the first plant of its kind at SK picglobal in South Korea, the capacity of which was expanded to 130,000 t/year in 2012. Evonik and thyssenkrupp Uhde were also commissioned to build a 300,000 t/year HPPO plant for JiShen Chemical Industry Co. Ltd. in Jilin City in Jilin Province, P.R.C., which was started up in 2014. In 2022, the cooperation partners gained another reference when Qixiang Tengda Chemical Company’s 300,000 t/year HPPO megascale plant in Zibo, China successfully went onstream. And a fourth mega project is also nearing completion: The 200,000 t/year plant for Hungarian customer MOL Group has entered the commissioning phase.

The Evonik-Uhde process produces PO from propylene and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) using a special titanium silicalite (TS-1) catalyst. The advantages of the new process are clear. It is more cost effective to operate than the PO production processes currently used, and the significantly lower capital investment costs allow investors greater flexibility in their investment decisions.

A further advantage: thyssenkrupp Uhde can also provide plants for the production of propylene feed via the oxydehydrogenation of propane by means of its proprietary STAR process technology.

2024 HPPO World Scale Project for MOL, Hungary
2022 HPPO World Scale Project for Qixiang Tengda Chemical Company in Zibo, China
HPPO world scale project for JiShen Chemical Industry Co, Ltd. in Jilin City, China
HPPO Plant for SKC, Ulsan, South Korea

Thanks to the low feedstock consumption and consolidated energy integration concept of our HPPO technology, our PO production process achieves the lowest carbon footprint of all propylene oxide technologies.

The figures shown in the graph above are for feedstocks and utilities that are produced by renewable, low-carbon means, which have been gaining traction in the market in recent years.

The figures still leave room for improvement. The steam consumption is calculated based on the traditional natural gas production route. However, we are already evaluating state-of-the-art alternatives, such as electricity as a heating medium, which has the potential to reduce the CO2 footprint to around 700 kg CO2/metric ton of PO, as it reduces not only the steam footprint in the HPPO plant, but also in the H2O2 facility.

Ultimately, our core mindset is a zero-emissions philosophy. We continue to work hard to provide our customers with the most efficient and environment-friendly approach to treating HPPO plant emissions, thereby reducing the CO2 footprint of downstream units.