Minimizing Waste Disposal Using Solid Catalysts

This example includes processes for producing ethylben-zene, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), and ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE), and many other processes.

Historically, the AlCl3 catalyst system has been the technology for ethylbenzene synthesis. However, the disposal of the waste stream presented an environmental problem. The Mobil ZSM-5 catalyst permits a solid-catalyst, vapor-phase system which gives yields comparable to the AlCl3, catalyzed system but without the environmental problems associated with AlCl3.

A new, strongly acidic, ion-exchange catalyst is replacing more acid catalyst applications for producing MTBE, ETBE, olefin hydration, and esterification. The high-temperature catalyst, Amberlyst 36, can tolerate temperatures up to 150°C. Compared to sulfuric acid, the selectivity of the acidic resins is higher, product purity is better, and unlike acid, separating the product from the catalyst is not a problem.

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