Natural Detergent Alcohols
The Davy Process Technology Natural Detergent Alcohol process converts fatty acids to non-acidic intermediate methyl esters and hydrogenates these to alcohols. Methanol vapour passes counter current to the fatty acid ensuring almost complete conversion of the fatty acids to methyl esters. These are fed directly to a low pressure (40 bar) vapour phase hydrogenation process over a fixed bed of chrome free copper catalyst to produce a high purity crude mixed alcohol product stream. The product alcohol is then refined before being polished to convert any residual carbonyls (principally aldehydes) in the product to alcohols. The methanol consumed in the esterification is recovered in the hydrogenation step and recycled, so the methanol make-up is minimal. The C12-C14 product alcohols are removed as a liquid side-draw from near the top of the column and pumped to product polishing. The C16-C18 product alcohols are removed as a vapour side-draw from near the base of the column. The product polishing system converts any trace aldehydes in the product to alcohol.
This vapour phase process has been licensed around the world in 10 ester hydrogenation plants with a total installed capacity of 350,000 tonnes per year of alcohols. These plants have virtually no effluents; small by-product streams are recycled and consumed within the process so they have minimal environmental impact. Please contact us for further information.