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Cutting-edge catalysts for cumene production

ExxonMobil’s zeolite catalysts are the heart of the Cumene process. Originally developed by Mobil Oil, the MCM-22 family of zeolite catalysts revolutionized the production of cumene. With their high activity and selectivity to cumene, ExxonMobil catalysts enable a simple, liquid phase process that replaced the older aluminum chloride and solid phosphoric acid technologies – all while setting the standard for cumene product purity.

With TechnipFMC Process Technology and building upon our 20+ year relationship, the cumene technology continues to be improved. The result is a highly energy efficient, low environmental impact process that is easy to maintain and to operate and offers a low capital and operating cost for the production of cumene in the phenolics value chain.

Alkylation
An alkylation reactor uses ExxonMobil catalyst to convert benzene and propylene to cumene in the liquid phase. A small fraction of the cumene is further alkylated to polyisopropylbenzenes (PIPB), which is recovered in distillation and converted back to cumene in the transalkylation reactor.

Transalkylation
A single bed, liquid phase transalkylation reactor converts the small amount of PIPB with benzene to recover additional cumene production.

Purification
A simple distillation train recovers unreacted benzene, produces cumene product, and recycles PIPB to transalkylation.

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