Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version

4-2011

Abstract

Terepthalic acid is primarily utilized as a raw material to make polyester PET, a polymer used to make a variety of household items such as clothing and plastic bottles. Currently, the most common method used to produce TPA is a technology called the Amoco Process, in which paraxylene is oxidized in the presence of a corrosive catalyst promoter. The corrosive promoter necessitates expensive equipment that is clad with titanium or other expensive alloys. Recently, a new non-corrosive ionic liquid promoter was discovered that would allow for stainless steel equipment.

In this report, a process was designed to produce terephthalic acid using the new ionic liquid technology. The process was analyzed for technological and economic feasibility, while also considering other potential issues such as safety and start-up. The designed plant produces 800 million pounds of crude terephthalic acid (TPA) a year in the Gulf Coast. Under the assumed economic conditions, this process is projected to have a net present value of $110,840,600 in the year 2011 with an attractive internal rate of return of 34.07%, making this project more profitable than the Amoco Process due to the significantly decreased total capital investment required by this new technology.

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Date Posted: 24 July 2012