Advanced Processes for Bi-Modal HDPE

  • ID: 2568677
  • Report
  • Region: Global
  • 219 Pages
  • EnerChemTek, Inc.
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FEATURED COMPANIES

  • Borealis
  • Chevron Phillips Chemical
  • CP Chem
  • Ineos
  • LyondellBasell
  • Mitsui Chemical
  • MORE
This report provides a comparative analysis of eight processes for high molecular weight bi-modal HDPE, including a detailed analysis of the production costs, with the overall objective of illustrating the advantages and disadvantages of each technology relative to its peers. The study discusses in some detail the latest advances in each technology, as revealed by the patent and other technical literature, including single-reactor technologies and recently developed high productivity loop slurry technologies.

Since early 2006, several ground-breaking patent applications have been filed that promise to radically alter the cost structure of the bi-modal HDPE industry. In particular, there have been remarkable improvements in the basic loop slurry process for HDPE, and in the dual-reactor cascade version of this process used to make bi-modal products. These improvements go well beyond 'conventional wisdom' in plant operating limits and set new boundaries for reactor productivity and single-stream plant output.

If all these new developments were applied in a new facility, it is likely that the unit would set a new global benchmark in conversion costs in making HDPE, whether bi-modal or uni-modal. Potentially, these recent developments constitute the slurry-phase analog of Super-Condensed Mode operation introduced in 1995 for gas-phase processes by ExxonMobil for the Unipol process, and by Ineos for the Innovene process.

Each process profile contains the full analysis of technical and economic factors that determine the competitive standing of the process, structured to provide detailed analysis of two key dimensions of comparison:

1. The Technical Comparison: This describes the technical dimension: how the process works and what it can and cannot do in terms of polymer composition and structure. The comparisons are based on speculative recipes developed by us for an appropriate HMW pipe grade for each basic process.
- A process description
- Outline process flow diagram
- Operating conditions and limitations.

2. The Economic Comparison: This provides an independent and internally consistent comparison of the production economics of each process, including:
- An estimate of investment costs for the battery limits and offsite facilities.
- Variable operating costs such as monomers and other raw materials, catalysts, additives & chemicals, and utilities such as power, fuel, water & steam.
- Fixed operating costs such as operating labor, maintenance labor & materials, and business overheads.
- Sensitivity of investment and operating costs to production scale.
The basic costing for each process is for a standard HMW pipe grade, primarily a PE100 pipe grade for those technologies capable of making these products, or alternatively a PE80 grade.
Cost estimates include an allowance for grade-switching penalties estimated by using a proprietary methodology. These penalties are based on uniform assumptions about the number of reactor grades produced and variability in 'quality' across the portfolio. The intention is to represent product portfolios that would be considered 'average' for commercial plants operating in a developed market region.

In their continual quest for differentiation, polyolefin producers have adopted many variations from the standard process configurations. In many cases these variations have been introduced in the product recovery area, in others the reaction heat removal or feed purification sections, all aimed at adding capabilities to the process to achieve a competitive advantage. While there are too many variations to evaluate all of them, the study describes and discusses those variations of each process that appear to be the most advantageous or important.
The eight processes evaluated are EnerChemTek's interpretations of:
A. The Hostalen cascade slurry CSTR process licensed by Basell.
B. The Mitsu CX cascade slurry CSTR process licensed by Mitsui Chemicals.
C. The cascade loop reactor slurry process.
D. The super-critical loop/fluid bed Borstar process.
E. The Spherilene gas-phase dual reactor cascade process licensed by Basell.
F. The gas-phase dual reactor cascade process used by Dow (Unipol II) to make bi-modal HDPE grades, and by Mitsui (Evolue) to make metallocene-LLDPE.
G. The Unipol Prodigy single-reactor technology licensed by Univation in which bimodal HMW resins are made in a single Unipol reactor using a bi-functional single-site catalyst system.
H. The single-loop-reactor slurry process for multi-modal HDPE developed by CP Chem. This represents the latest generation of the popular CP Chem loop slurry process (isobutane diluent) that is the most widely licensed HDPE technology worldwide.
While each process technology evaluated is intended to be representative of a specific licensed process as described above, the study is an interpretation of publicly available information about these licensed technologies and does not necessarily correspond to the technology actually practiced or licensed by each of these companies. While reasonable efforts have been taken to verify interpretations and analyses, they have been done on a best-efforts basis and cannot be guaranteed to be correct nor complete.

Delivery of the report file requires 24-48 hours as each copy is customized to the client with access controls and custom watermarks.
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FEATURED COMPANIES

  • Borealis
  • Chevron Phillips Chemical
  • CP Chem
  • Ineos
  • LyondellBasell
  • Mitsui Chemical
  • MORE
A. Summary and Conclusions
Introduction
The context
PE Growth trends by product type
Leading technologies for linear PE
Bimodal PE technologies
Trends within the bimodal PE sector
Trends in bimodal PE markets
Basis for technology comparisons
Study Objective
Case I - The Mitsu CX cascade slurry CSTR process
Case II - The Hostalen cascade slurry CSTR process
Case III - The cascade loop reactor slurry process
Case IV - The super-critical loop/fluid bed Borstar process
Case V - The Spherilene gas-phase dual reactor cascade process
Case VI - The gas-phase dual reactor cascade process
Case VII - The Unipol Prodigy single-reactor technology
Case VIII - A single-loop-reactor slurry process for multi-modal HDPE
Conclusions
The significance of recent developments in technology
Comparison of production economics
Basis
Production Cost Comparison
Advantages & Disadvantages of Competing Processes
Overall attractiveness of single-reactor bimodal technologies and match to market needs
B. Detailed Process Evaluations
Introduction
Basis for technology comparisons
Cost & price basis

CASE I - THE MITSUI CX CASCADE SLURRY PROCESS
Overview
Process description
Catalyst and raw material preparation
Polymerization
Polymer recovery
Pelletization & Storage
Diluent purification & recovery
Process Economics – Mitsui CX
Fixed Operating Costs
Economic Variation Analysis
Production scale effects.
Reduced Output
Speculative Future Developments
Production Technology – Mitsui CX

CASE II - THE HOSTALEN CASCADE SLURRY PROCESS
Overview
Process description
Catalyst and raw material preparation
Polymerization
Polymer recovery
Pelletization & Storage
Diluent purification & recovery
Process Economics – Hostalen CSTR process
Fixed Operating Costs
Economic Variation Analysis
Production scale effects.
Reduced Output
Speculative Future Developments

CASE III - THE CASCADE LOOP SLURRY PROCESS
Overview
Review of recent developments
Historical precepts of loop slurry PE technology
New precepts of loop slurry PE technology
The new paradigm in loop slurry PE technology
Process description
Catalyst and raw material preparation
Polymerization
Polymer recovery
Pelletization & storage
Diluent purification & recovery
Process Economics – Loop slurry process
Fixed Operating Costs
Economic Variation Analysis
Production scale effects.
Reduced Output
Speculative Future Developments
Production Technology – Loop Slurry

CASE IV - THE BORSTAR SUPERCRITICAL LOOP/GAS PHASE PROCESS
Overview
Process description
Catalyst and raw material preparation
Polymerization
Polymer recovery
Pelletization & storage
Diluent purification & recovery
Process Economics – Borstar process
Fixed Operating Costs
Economic Variation Analysis
Production scale effects.
Reduced Output
Speculative Future Developments

CASE V - THE SPHERILENE GAS PHASE CASCADE REACTOR PROCESS
Overview
Process description
Catalyst and raw material preparation
Polymerization
Polymer recovery
Pelletization & storage
Diluent purification & recovery
Process Economics – Spherilene process
Fixed Operating Costs
Economic Variation Analysis
Production scale effects.
Reduced Output
Speculative Future Developments

CASE VI - THE GAS PHASE DUAL REACTOR CASCADE PROCESS
Overview
Process description
Catalyst and raw material preparation
Polymerization
Polymer recovery
Pelletization & storage
Diluent purification & recovery
Process Economics – Gas phase cascade process
Fixed Operating Costs
Economic Variation Analysis
Production scale effects.
Reduced Output
Speculative Future Developments

CASE VII - THE PRODIGY SINGLE GAS PHASE REACTOR PROCESS
Overview
Process description
Catalyst and raw material preparation
Polymerization
Polymer recovery
Pelletization & storage
Process Economics – Prodigy single reactor gas phase process
Fixed Operating Costs
Economic Variation Analysis
Production scale effects.
Reduced Output
Speculative Future Developments
CASE VIII - SINGLE LOOP SLURRY REACTOR PROCESS
Overview
Process description
Catalyst and raw material preparation
Polymerization
Polymer recovery
Pelletization & storage
Diluent purification & recovery
Process Economics – Single Loop Slurry Reactor Process
Fixed Operating Costs
Economic Variation Analysis
Production scale effects.
Reduced Output
Speculative Future Developments

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure A.1. A Typical Molecular Weight Distribution Curve For Bimodal PE
Figure A.2. World Polyethylene Capacity By Product Type - 2006
Figure A.3. Growth Trends In PE Capacity By Product Type
Figure A.4. Global PE Capacity By Process Technology & Licensor
Figure A.5. The Trend Toward Bimodal Technologies For HDPE
Figure A.6. Trends In New Capacity Additions For Linear PE
Figure A.7. Global Bimodal PE Capacity By Process Type
Figure A.8. Historical Development Of Polyolefin Pipe Stress Ratings
Figure A.9. New “Fat-Loop” Reactor Configuration Suggested By Ineos
Figure A.10. Evolution Of The Loop Slurry Reactor Process
Figure B - 1. Operating Bi-Modal PE Capacity by CSTR Slurry Processes
Figure B - 2. Flow Diagram - Mitsui CX Process for Bi-Modal-PE
Figure B - 3. Flow Diagram - Hostalen Process for Bi-Modal-PE
Figure B - 4. New “Fat-Loop” Reactor Configuration Suggested By Ineos
Figure B - 5. Evolution Of The Loop Slurry Reactor Process
Figure B - 6. Flow Diagram – Loop Slurry Process for Bi-Modal-PE
Figure B - 7. Flow Diagram - Borstar Process for Bi-Modal-PE, Sheets 1 to 4
Figure B - 8. Flow Diagram - Spherilene Process for Bi-Modal-PE, Sheets 1 to 4
Figure B - 9. Flow Diagram – Gas Phase Cascade Process for Bi-Modal-PE, Sheets 1 to 4
Figure B - 10. Flow Diagram – Prodigy Single Gas Phase Reactor Process, Sheets 1 to 3
Figure B - 11. MWD Curves and SCB Distributions of PE100 Grades
Figure B - 12. Flow Diagram – Single Loop Slurry Reactor Process, Sheets 1 to 4

LIST OF TABLES
Table A.1. Assumed Prices & Costs For Raw Materials & Utilities
Table A.2. Comparative Manufacturing Costs For Polyethylene By Leading Processes, Focusing On Bimodal HDPE Technologies
Table B.1. Assumed Prices & Costs For Raw Materials & Utilities
Table B.2. Manufacturing Costs – Mitsui CX CSTR Process - Pages 1 to 3
Table B.3. Mitsui CX Cost Sensitivity To Plant Capacity
Table B.4. Sensitivity of Production Costs to Reduced Plant Output – Mitsui CX
Table B.5. Manufacturing Costs for Bi-Modal HDPE – Hostalen CSTR Process Pages 1 to 3
Table B.6. Hostalen Cost Sensitivity To Plant Capacity
Table B.7. Sensitivity of Production Costs to Reduced Plant Output – Hostalen Process
Table B.8. Manufacturing Costs for Bi-Modal HDPE – Loop Slurry Process
Table B.9. Loop Slurry Cost Sensitivity To Plant Capacity
Table B.10. Sensitivity of Production Costs to Reduced Plant Output – Loop Slurry Process
Table B.11. Manufacturing Costs for Bi-Modal HDPE – Borstar Process, Sheets 1 to 3
Table B.12. Borstar Cost Sensitivity To Plant Capacity
Table B.13. Sensitivity of Production Costs to Reduced Plant Output – Borstar Process
Table B.14. Manufacturing Costs for Bi-Modal HDPE – Spherilene Process, Pages 1 to 3
Table B.15. Spherilene Cost Sensitivity To Plant Capacity
Table B.16. Sensitivity of Production Costs to Reduced Plant Output - Spherilene Process
Table B.17. Manufacturing Costs for Bi-Modal HDPE – Gas Phase Cascade
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-Borealis
-CP Chem
-Chevron Phillips Chemical
-Ineos
-LyondellBasell
-Mitsui Chemical
-Total Petrochemicals
-Univation
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