Recovery and In-Process Recycle of Product and Feedstocks From Oxo Plant Reactor Purge Gas

EPA Contract Number: 68D01028
Title: Recovery and In-Process Recycle of Product and Feedstocks From Oxo Plant Reactor Purge Gas
Investigators: Morisato, Atsushi
Small Business: Membrane Technology and Research Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: April 1, 2001 through September 1, 2001
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Pollution Prevention , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The oxo process is an important method of converting inexpensive olefins into valuable oxygenated building blocks. As a result, almost 10 million tons of oxo chemicals are synthesized annually worldwide. All oxo plants produce a reactor purge gas stream that contains 1-2 percent of the feedstocks entering the reactor. This purge gas usually is flared, and the residual feedstocks are lost. Membrane Technology and Research, Inc., proposes to develop a membrane process to separate the reaction product and feedstocks from the purge stream so they can be recycled directly to the reactor. The membrane process will yield a fivefold reduction in the volume of gas that is sent to flare, and will completely pay for system installation from the value of the recovered materials. The Phase I objectives are to develop membranes that are capable of performing the required separations and to design a complete system based on the membrane permeation properties. In the Phase II project, the membrane will be scaled up for bench- and pilot-scale tests.

If successfully developed, the process will be adopted widely by oxo plant operators because of the high value of the recovered feedstocks and product. The process also will reduce the environmental impact of these plants by reducing the size of the flare required. Installation of 20-30 units in U.S. oxo plants will recover about 30,000-50,000 tons annually of product and feedstocks. The worldwide market is approximately three times larger.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, oxo plants, purge gas, engineering, chemistry, EPA, pollution prevention, clean technology, air pollution, recovery., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, oxochemicals, recovery, oxo chemicals, recycling, feedstocks, purge gas, oxo plant, pollution prevention

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final