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   New Developments

Phenol Future

ILLA's guiding principle is to reject stereotypical approach and give top priority to the new lines of research. We try to implement new ideas as soon as possible because everything new gets old very quickly.

Here you may find a bit more information about some trends of ILLA's studies.

1. A two-step technology for phenol treatment from minor impurities that provides the highest quality phenol has been developed. The phenol treatment method is protected by Russian Patent No. 2266275.

2. A technology for off-gases treatment from cumene and methanol impurities for cumene to cumene hydroxyperoxide oxidation stage has been developed. The method allows improving environmental issues as well as economics of the entire phenol process due to reduced non-recoverable cumene losses.

3. A research on the development of method for acetone treatment from carbonyl-containing impurities with the use of heterogeneous catalyst instead of conventional NaOH is underway.

4. In 2004, ILLA has completed a study of the kinetics and mechanism of key byproducts formation in phenol production process, specifically α-methylstyrene dimers and cumylphenols. Methods to reduce the byproduct yield in commercial process are demonstrated. The outcome of this work is presented in the article "MECHANISM OF ALPHA-METHYLSTYRENE DIMER AND ORTHO-, PARA-CUMYLPHENOLS FORMATION" reported at the 2004 AIChE Aromatics Producers Conference.

5. In 2003, ILLA has completed a study of the process for hydroxyacetone removal from cumene hydroperoxide cleavage products through extraction of hydroxyacetone from an acid-catalyzed cumene hydroperoxide cleavage products and subsequent chemical conversion of hydroxyacetone into condensation and oxidation products in aqueous sodium sulfate solution in the presence of alkaline catalysts and oxidizing agents. This study has established the kinetic mechanisms of hydroxyacetone conversion in aqueous salt solution in the presence of alkaline catalysts and oxidizing agents. It is proved that the novel method as applied along with downstream catalytic phenol purification from other impurities on zeolite catalyst is superior for production of high quality phenol and acetone. This study is described in the article "Improvement of Product Phenol Quality via New Effective Method for Removal of Hydroxyacetone" reported at the 2004 AIChE Aromatics Producers Conference.

6. Finishing a study for the mechanism of hydroxyacetone formation in the phenol and acetone production process.

7. Studies at distillation stage:


7.1. Finishing the study of phase equilibrium in the component systems including such impurities as hydroxyacetone, 2-methylbenzofurane, mesityl oxide in the phenol and acetone production process.


7.2. The optimum conditions for the production of high quality product phenol were found on the basis of building and studying the diagrams of distillation areas in component systems of phenol and acetone production process.

8. Developing the technology of aldehydes removal from acetone.

9. Developing the alternative method for acetone processing.

10. Developing a new technology of the phenol treatment by applying binary catalyst system for high-HA-containing phenol. ILLA has applied a new approach to phenol purification by using two catalysts, one of which is ILLA's newly developed catalyst which provides the decrease in HA content in crude phenol and the other one - ILLA's zeolite catalyst which provides high purification degree from remaining impurities. The pilot test of the newly developed catalyst is well underway, running for more than a year now. The expected lifetime to be 3 years. The second step catalyst demonstrated the commercial lifetime of 7 years.

11. Successful completion of the laboratory research of the Waste-less Process of Phenol and Acetone Production - a totally new approach to the phenol process aiming at getting the theoretical cumene-to-phenol consumption of 1277 kg/t PNL. Commercial pilot test runs are being arranged. This study is described in the article "Wasteless Process of Phenol and Acetone Production" reported at the 2003 AIChE Aromatics Producers Conference.




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