Uhde GmbH has been awarded a contract by the Belgian chemical company Limburgse Vinyl Maatschappij NV (LVM), a member of the Tessenderlo group, for a new ethylene dichloride (EDC) plant using the innovative new Vinnolit-Uhde boiling reactor technology. The plant will be built at LVM's site in Tessenderlo, Belgium, and will have an annual capacity of 250,000 tonnes of EDC. It is scheduled to come onstream in 2006. Uhde's scope of supplies includes the licence, basic and detail engineering, procurement services, construction management and supervision of the commissioning activities.
This will be the first industrial-scale application of the new Vinnolit-Uhde technology for the production of EDC through the direct chlorination of ethylene using the new boiling reactor. In this reactor, which has been developed jointly by Uhde and Vinnolit, liquid-phase ethylene reacts catalytically with chlorine to form EDC. The chlorine for the new plant will be produced at a membrane electrolysis plant currently being built by Uhde at the same location for Tessenderlo Chemie. The EDC produced is of such a high quality that destillative purification is no longer necessary and it can be used immediately as feedstock for the production of vinyl chloride (VCM) or offered for sale. VCM will be manufactured as an intermediate from the EDC produced at the plant and this in turn will be used to manufacture PVC.
"Due to the new process and reaction configuration the new Uhde-Vinnolit process is noticeably more cost effective than other processes. It requires less energy and furthermore it is extremely environment-friendly as no liquid by-products are produced. Little space is required and so the new technology can also be easily integrated into existing plant complexes," said Dr. Josef Ertl, Managing Director of Vinnolit.