Development of New Catalyst Can Revolutionize The Styrene Industry Market By Making Manufacturing More Cost Effective And Greener

  • Analysis
  • 31-March-2021

Styrene refers to a synthetic material used to make several types of resins, plastics, and other materials. It is a colorless liquid, and whenever it is exposed to the air, it is quick to evaporate. It is an aromatic monomer with a pleasant smell; however, it can be unpleasant when mixed with other chemicals or at high concentrations.

Recently, chemical engineers have managed to develop a new catalyst that would have the ability to increase yield in styrene manufacturing. This cutting-edge innovation would be a big advancement for Styrene Industry Market as it would reduce energy and greenhouse emissions. On top of it, the catalyst is also cost-effective and works towards reducing the environmental impact of styrene manufacturing. Industry estimates have even predicted that manufacturers will be producing tens of millions of styrene in the near future, further boosting the Styrene market.

Traditionally, technologies that produce styrene have a single-pass yield of about 54 percent. This denotes that for every 100 units of feedstock put into manufacturing styrene, 54 units of it would be received out of each pass. Through the new catalyst, the team was able to produce a 91 percent yield in a single pass.

In the new process, the conversion process occurs at the same temperature as the conventional styrene manufacturing process, i.e., 500-600 C. The difference arises at the requirement of injection of steam. Current methods need a large amount of steam to be injected into the reactor where conversion takes place. Whereas the new technique does not require steam thus, the amount of energy consumed for performing the conversion is reduced considerably.

In numerical terms, the new catalyst helps decrease the use of energy by 82 percent in the conversion process. Moreover, it also reduces carbon emissions by 79 percent. All these positive changes are the result of the engineered design of the new catalyst. The redox catalyst consists of a  mixed calcium manganese oxide core for storage of lattice oxygen and a potassium ferrite surface for the catalytic phase.

Although the new catalyst sounds promising, manufacturers would need to adopt a different reactor style to complement the technology. CATOFIN® reactor might be one of the possible options to look into as per the team. Even though their demand is high due to their widespread use in other industrial applications, the new process's cost-saving should make the change of reactors desirable.

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