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Solvay technology boost for HPPO partners

By Patrick Raleigh, UT On-line news editorBrussels-Solvay SA has developed a technology which, it claims, can double the output of its existing hydrogen peroxide plants. The system, it said, could be used to supply feedstock to a planned BASF AG/Dow Chemical Co. propylene oxide facility.Solvay applied the new H2O2 technology at its Interox pilot plant in Povoa, Portugal, using standard feedstocks and “minimal” investment. The system-based on optimising the quinone feedstock for H2O2 production-doubled the plant’s capacity to 10 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa), the Belgian group said.The advance “paves the way for capacity extensions at low cost, and for the building of landmark megaplants to serve new applications” said Eric Mignonat, Solvay’s managing director for H2O2, in a 4 Feb press statement.Solvay said the high-yield process will now be used on a commercial plant run by OY Finnish Peroxides AB-a joint venture with UPM-Kymmene of Finland-which is expanding capacity to meet rising demand for H2 O2 in its domestic market.Solvay is a partner in a planned BASF/Dow project to build a world-scale propylene oxide plant. The plant is to be based on a new ‘HPPO’ [hydrogen peroxide route to propylene oxide] production route. Under the plan, Solvay would become BASF’s partner in the project, which would involve the construction of a 200-ktpa H2O2 plant. BASF will decide on whether or not to proceed with the project later this year, according to Solvay’s statement. The HPPO project was scheduled to move from the pilot stage to the engineering phase at the end of 2003, BASF/Dow have previously stated. “The project is going well and is on track. We are encouraged by the results to date,” a Dow spokeswoman said in a 3 Feb written statement to UT.”

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