Production of 1,3-Butadiene from Propylene

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Senior Design Reports (CBE)
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Biochemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Chemical Engineering
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Nestlerode, Amanda
Ngo, Victor
Haidermota, Safia

Our proposed plant design produces 103 million lb/year of 1,3 butadiene from propylene. Today, there are three chief methods to produce 1,3 butadiene. These include the Houdry process, oxidative dehydrogenation of 2-butenes and steam cracking of saturated hydrocarbons. The latter is the most widely used. The primary motivation behind this project was the production of 1,3 butadiene without the need for olefin cracker C4 crude oil streams. Olefin cracker C4 streams will decrease in availability as the trend towards lighter feedstock increases. Our plant is divided into four sections, namely metathesis, distillation, oxidative dehydrogenation and extractive distillation. The two byproducts include gasoline and ethylene. 1,3 butadiene is separated through extractive distillation with the help of solvent, NMP and is 99.9533% pure. The cost of purchase of propylene is $0.65/lb and the selling cost of 1,3 butadiene is $1/lb. However, it costs 2 propylene molecules to make one molecule of butadiene. This report provides a detailed design and economic analysis for 1,3-butadiene production in the Gulf Coast. Process flow sheets, energy and utility requirements and reactor design have been considered during our analysis below. The total cost of equipment is $44,918,915 and the variable cost is $200,958,000. Due to the large amounts of propylene, NMP and utilities required, our process is not profitable. The exploration of the metathesis step catalyst to improve 2-butene yields would significantly help the process. Profitability is also heavily dependent to the price ratio of 1,3 butadiene to propylene. We expect based on our market research that the cost of 1,3 butadiene will rise in the future.

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