Eastman Chemical Company in Ghent, striving for maximum sustainability, has developed a new type of catalyst for its hydrogenation processes. This not only reduces waste streams, but also makes the new process more energy efficient. The invention is applicable in other production installations and, as such, strengthens the position of the Ghent site within the international Eastman group.
In the past, the hydrogenation step in the synthesis process generated significant amounts of waste salt. With this new catalyst, this waste stream is drastically reduced and the byproducts can be recycled. The catalyst also enables milder processing processes, requiring less energy.
The new catalyst was developed entirely at the Ghent site. Based on a study of the literature, potential catalysts were screened and modified until a selectivity of more than 99% was reached. The team also developed the required modifications to the production process, including a new purification step. Eighteen months later, the new installation was operational. Both the catalyst and the adapted production process have been patented by Eastman Chemical Company.