You are using Internet Explorer 11 or earlier, this browser is no longer supported by this website. We suggest to use a modern browser.

Olefins & Solvents


thyssenkrupp Uhde licenses processes for the production of C4 olefins from mixed C4 streams and for the production of solvents by processing propene, C4 olefins, acetone and methanol.

Solvent production

  • Direct hydration of propene to isopropanol (IPA)

  • Direct hydration of n-butenes to secondary butanol (SBA) and dehydrogenation of SBA to methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)

  • Condensation, dehydration and hydrogenation of acetone to methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK)

  • Condensation and dehydration of methanol to high-purity dimethyl ether (DME).

C4 olefins

Production of high-purity C4 olefins via extraction from mixed C4 streams in the Uhde BUTENEX® process

Our strengths:

  • State-of-the-art processes for SBA and IPA production using proprietary acidic ion exchange resin catalysts instead of sulfuric acid

  • Production of high-purity MEK based on SBA synthesis in a combined SBA/MEK process

  • MIBK process combines condensation, dehydration and hydrogenation in one process step using a bifunctional catalyst

  • The solvent used in the BUTENEX® process exhibits high selectivity, thermal stability and a suitable boiling point

  • The DME process combines the advantages of a reliable and proven technology with low capital expenditure and low production costs; depending on customer requirements, the DME purity can be varied from fuel grade (above 98%) to high-purity aerosol grade (>99.99%)

Process flow sheets for olefin and solvent production

In the SBA process, SBA is formed by direct hydration of n-butenes with water in the presence of a strongly acidic ion exchange resin catalyst. In a second step, the crude SBA is then distilled to a purity of over 99.0%.

Advantages compared to the sulfuric acid process:

  • Forms fewer by-products

  • Lower utilities consumption

  • Requires no chemicals

  • Environmentally friendly as it generates no waste.

These advantages cut SBA production costs by around 25%.