Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (3): 135-144.doi: 10.1016/j.cjche.2020.11.017

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Simulation and assessment of manufacturing ethylene carbonate from ethylene oxide in multiple process routes

Xincheng Gu1, Xiaochun Zhang1, Xiangping Zhang1,2, Chun Deng3   

  1. 1 Beijing Key Laboratory of Ionic Liquid Clean Process, Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China;
    2 School of Chemical Engineering, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3 Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing, College of Chemical Engineering and Environment, China University of Petroleum-Beijing, Beijing 102249, China
  • Received:2020-08-31 Revised:2020-11-13 Online:2021-03-28 Published:2021-05-13
  • Contact: Xiangping Zhang
  • Supported by:
    This work is financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFB0605802), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21978293, U1704251).

Abstract: Ethylene oxide (EO) is an important raw material for producing ethylene carbonate (EC). However, the traditional method for the separation of EO from mixture gas by water in the refining process is high energy consumption. In this paper, two processes of manufacturing EC from EO mixture gas were studied by process simulation. Two processes for producing EC from EO mixture as raw materials without EO purification, called the OSAC process and the Modified OSAC process, were developed and assessed systematically. Both processes use EC as the absorbent to capture EO, avoiding the separation process of EO from solution. For comparisons, the EC producing process containing EO absorption by water, EO refinement and carbonylation process were also modeled, which was called the ERC process. Three schemes were designed for the EO absorber using EC as absorbent. Compared with the initial absorber scheme, the optimal liquid–vapor ratio is reduced from 1.66 to 1.45 (mass). Moreover, the mass distribution analysis for the three processes were carried out in the form of the material chain. It was found that, compared with the ERC process, the energy consumption of the OSAC and the Modified OSAC process is reduced by 56.89% and 30.03%, respectively. This work will provide helpful information for the industrialization of the OSAC process.

Key words: Ethylene oxide, Separation, Ethylene carbonate, Process simulation