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Products and solutions, 2006-05-10, 02:00 PM

Contract for propylene oxide plant based on new Degussa-Uhde process

Uhde has received a contract from the South Korean company, SKC of Seoul, for a propylene oxide plant based on the new process developed by Degussa AG of Düsseldorf and Uhde for the production of propylene oxide (PO) from hydrogen peroxide and propylene (HPPO process).

The 100,000 tonne-per-year propylene oxide plant will be built at Ulsan, approximately 300 kilometres south-east of Seoul, and is scheduled to come on-stream in early 2008. It will be the first commercial-scale plant to be based on this process.

Uhde will carry out the basic engineering and, in conjunction with Degussa, supply the licence for this process. DegussaHeadwaters Korea - a joint venture between Degussa and the American company Headwaters Inc. of South Jordan, Utah - will exclusively supply the new PO plant with hydrogen peroxide. Degussa is the world's second biggest producer of this environment-friendly oxidation agent.

The new Degussa/Uhde process offers a more cost-effective alternative to conventional PO production processes, particularly as it entails lower capital investment costs. The HPPO process is also extremely environment-friendly. It achieves a high product yield and, apart from water, no significant quantities of by-products are produced. Propylene oxide is used as a feedstock for the production of polyurethane, which, in turn, is used, for example, in the upholstery of car seats.

"For us, the innovative and co-product-free Degussa/Uhde HPPO technology is the process of the future," said Uhde Executive Board member, Helmut Knauthe. "We are totally convinced that it will become a yardstick for the construction of new propylene oxide plants."

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