BP announced two new technologies for the production of key petrochemical feedstocks. SaaBre™ is a new route for the production of acetic acid from syngas and Hummingbird® directly converts ethanol to ethylene through dehydration.
SaaBre’s breakthrough is a process for the conversion of synthesis gas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen derived from hydrocarbons such as natural gas) directly to acetic acid in a proprietary, integrated three-step process, that avoids the need to purify carbon monoxide (CO) or purchase methanol.
SaaBre™ is expected to deliver a significant reduction in variable manufacturing costs, and lead to capital efficiencies, compared to the carbonylation of methanol route which has been the leading technology for several decades.
Acetic acid is a versatile intermediate chemical, used in a variety of products, such as paints, adhesives and solvents, as well as in the production of PTA, used extensively in polyester manufacture.
Nick Elmslie, Chief Executive of BP’s Global Petrochemicals business said: “SaaBre™ is the most significant development for acetic acid production in 40 years and adds to our portfolio of leading technologies.
“The principle advantages of SaaBre™ are that it eliminates the need to purify carbon monoxide, does not require the purchase of methanol and contains no iodides reducing the need for exotic metallurgy. We are excited about the development potential of this technology for the production of additional products such as methanol and ethanol.”