Three industrial production methods of SA in China

Keyword: Succinic acid, Industrialization, SA research, technology
Publish time: 9th June, 2013      Source: CCM
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  Recently, some organizations published their latest achievements in the commercial production technology of succinic acid (SA). SA, as a decisive factor for the production cost of PBS, attracts some research organizations in view of the bright market prospect of PBS.
  Currently, most SA research organizations are optimistic about the market prospect of PBS. Along with the improving SA production technology, the production cost of PBS can be cut greatly, and then PBS can have a larger advantage compared to general plastic.
  In China, there are three industrial production methods of SA—electrolytic method, maleic anhydride (MA) hydrogenation method and biological method.
  Biological method is the most environmentally friendly method, and the raw material can be starch, straw and some other renewable biomass. For the mature biological production engineering, the production cost can be the lowest among the three methods. Currently, a part of overseas enterprises have already achieved commercial production or are constructing the production line, but in China, only one pilot production line is constructed.
  In March 2013, a 1,000t/a biological SA pilot production line owned by the Research Institute of Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Company Ltd. was put into production and qualified products have been produced. Due to the small capacity, the production cost is relatively high and the production line cannot generate reasonable profit currently, but it is the first industrialized biological SA production line in China.
  MA hydrogenation method may be the best choice for those who want to enter the industry, since this method is relatively mature, with low production cost. In Oct. 2012, a 100t/a SA production line with the process for continuously producing SA through MA hydrogenation produced the first batch of products. The production engineering is researched and developed by Mr. Zhao, Professor of Shanxi University with the capital support of Henan Coal Chemical Industry Group Co., Ltd. It's said that the conversion ratio of MA can reach 99%, and the purity can exceed 99.5%. The pilot production line will lay the foundation for the construction of 10,000t/a SA production line by MA hydrogenation method.
  In March 2012, Shanxi Qiaoyou Chemical Co., Ltd. held an expert evaluation conference for its 3,000t/a SA process design package, and in April 2013, the company started to construct a 10,000t/a SA production line by MA hydrogenation method. It is said that the company has also finished the scientific research of a 20,000t/a PBS program which will be the company's next program.
  Electrolytic method is currently the most popular method, but it is an energy-intensive method and brings serious environmental issues. Hangzhou Sailong Chemical Co., Ltd. is also a SA production technology researcher, and its Chairman, Ma Chun'an, is also the leader of State Key Laboratory for Green Chemical Synthesis Technology, Zhejiang University of Technology. The company has developed the third-generation non-membranous electrolytic method. The new technology will be more environmentally friendly and energy-saving. The company has signed a technology transfer contract with an energy enterprise to produce the raw material of PBS.
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