Techno-Economic Analysis of Alternative Pathways for Isopropanol Production
MetadataShow full item record
The price fluctuations and unpredictability of a secure supply of fossil fuels create uncertainty in chemical production. One of the chemicals impacted by uncertainty is isopropanol, which has traditionally been manufactured from propylene. The shale gas boom has led to propylene shortages. Along with the high growth rate of propylene based-products, the propylene market has been tight and prices are expected to increase. Therefore, it is necessary to identify alternative, cost-effective, and sustainable pathways for the production of isopropanol. Isopropanol is projected to grow annually at a rate of about two percent across the globe. It is primarily used as a solvent in cosmetics, in personal care products, and in pharmaceutical products. Other uses include as a motor oil in the automotive industry, and as a cleaning and drying agent in the electronics industry. The objective of this research is to find alternative pathways to produce isopropanol and to select viable pathways while considering technology and economic factors. The methodology to achieve this objective includes branching and matching, prescreening, pathway selection, techno-economic analysis, and selecting the most sustainable pathway. A superstructure is created to show routes that can produce isopropanol from a variety of feedstocks. The techno-economic assessments of processes are also performed to compare the profitability of possible processes. The result shows that the propane dehydrogenation is still the best pathway to produce propylene. The result also reveals that the most promising pathway for isopropanol production is direct hydration. The advantages of the direct hydration method over the indirect hydration method include less dependency of annual ROI on the price of propylene (the feedstock of hydration processes), and avoidance of corrosion and environmental problems.
Panjapakkul, Warissara (2018). Techno-Economic Analysis of Alternative Pathways for Isopropanol Production. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from