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Isomalk-3 - A robust n-C4 isomerization processs

A Robust n-C4 Isomerization Process. Isomalk-3 is a low-temperature isomerization technology for processing n-butane into isobutane, its branched isomer. Isobutane is an important intermediate required for the production of isobutylene or alkylate. Isobutylene can be used to produce MTBE or other high value petrochemicals such as isoprene through a synthetic on-purpose route.

The Isomalk-3 technology is based on the use of a mixed metal oxide SI-3TM catalyst with high selectivity to i-butane. Operating at 150-170°C, the yield and operating expenses are optimized. The expected lifetime of the SI-3 catalyst is over 10 years. The process eliminates the need for chlorine injection, on-gas caustic scrubbing and associated equipment expenses. Water, sulfur and nitrogen specs for the feed are significantly lowered. Break-through of these contaminants is permissible, and catalyst activity can be restored via “in-situ” catalyst regeneration. As with the other catalysts associated with the Isomalk family, operation is simple and reliable; start-up, turn-around and shutdown time are minimal due to the high resistance to catalytic poisons and most importantly water.

Configuration Overview
Isomalk-3 can achieve high conversion to isobutane while significantly reducing equipment needs. The process requires a one-reactor configuration and eliminates the chemical consumption of organochlorides and caustic for operation. Cooling water or refrigerant serves as a medium to recover i-C4 and n-C4 in the stabilizer overhead, depending on the available utilities on-site. The subsequent integration of the i-butane with downstream dehydrogenation technology allows the optimum recovery of all products of the isomerization reaction, heat integration, minimized OSBL requirements and plot-plan.

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