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Unformatted text preview: PERP Program – Maleic Anhydride - New Report Alert
Nexant’s ChemSystems Process Evaluation/Research Planning (PERP) program has published a new
report, Maleic Anhydride (03/04-7). To view the table of contents or order this report, please click on
the link below:
Maleic anhydride (MAN) is a versatile molecule that lends itself to many applications requiring
multifunctionality. With three active sites (two carboxyl groups and one double bond), it is an
excellent joining and cross-linking agent. The broad range of derivatives is shown in Figure 1.
Starting at the top of Figure 1 and moving clockwise, a description of major maleic anhydride
chemistries and derivatives now follows:
• The catalytic hydration of maleic anhydride yields malic acid – an important acidulant in the
food and personal care industry. • The catalytic hydrogenation of maleic anhydride yields succinic anhydride which can be
hydrolyzed to the acid. Esters of succinic acid are used in the agrichemicals industry. • The reaction of maleic anhydride with phthalic anhydride with propylene glycol yields a
commodity unsaturated polyester resin which is usually dissolved in styrene for use in
reinforced compounds, artificial marble, etc. • The Diels Alder addition of maleic anhydride with polyisobutylenes yields succinimides
which form key components in lubricant additives when reacted with polyamines, etc. • Maleic anhydride copolymers with styrene, ethylene vinyl acetate, etc, serve a number of
niche market segments for adhesives, coatings, anti-fouling agents, etc. • Polysuccinimides and polyaspartic acid are newer developments targeted at detergent and anticorrosion applications. • Butanediol and derivatives represent the outlet for unrefined maleic anhydride supporting
downstream industries such as engineering polymers, spandex fibers, solvents and
specialties. -2- Figure 1 Maleic Anhydride Derivative Tree
Ma i ci i TTartaricAcidd
artaric Aci SSuccinate
Asparti cid Succinicc
Fum ric cid Succcincc
Suc ini i
Anhydrid Maleic AAcid
A hydride Compoundss
Pol esters Tetrahydrophthalicc
Anhydride Lubricant t
Additive Alpha Olefin
Cop lymers Butanediol l
PP:4117/Sec_1 -3- • Maleic anhydride finds extensive use in agrichemical intermediates for pesticides and
herbicides. • Maleic anhydride can be reacted with alpha olefins to provide intermediates for a whole host
of applications from lubricants through to personal care products. • The reactions with diolefins such as butadiene and isoprene yield specialty anhydrides used
for curing agents in epoxy resins serving primarily electrical/electronic markets. • The hydration and isomerization of maleic anhydride yields maleic and fumaric acids which
find widespread uses in fine chemicals, resins, acidulants, etc. Extensive discussion is provided in the report for major end uses such as unsaturated polyester resins;
fumaric, malic, maleic, and succinic acids; specialty adducts; lubrication oil additives; agricultural
chemicals; and styrene and other copolymers. Miscellaneous other end uses are mentioned briefly.
There are various process options available for the production of maleic anhydride that must be
considered by potential producers for choosing the process configuration optimum for any particular
local situation. Process options include:
• Feedstock (benzene, n-butane)
Reactor (fixed-bed, fluid-bed)
Energy integration (co-product, power, etc.)
Recovery (aqueous, solvent)
Feed recycle or one-through It is fair to say that in the final analysis the reactor is still the heart of the maleic anhydride process
and will continue to focus the mind of chemists and engineers alike in improving conversion,
selectivity and throughput.
The report generically discusses the influences of the various options on the maleic anhydride process.
Specific process descriptions are provided for the processes offered by major licensors Huntsman,
Lonza/ABB Lummus, and Scientific Design. -4- Process information also is provided for selected maleic anhydride derivatives:
• Unsaturated polyester resins • Polyisobutenyl succinamides • Fumaric acid • Polyaspartic acid • Butanediol Economics
Cost of production estimates are provided for the generic process configurations shown in Table 1.
Scale, tons per year
Comment Summary of Maleic Anhydride Production Cases
(USGC, Average 2004) Fixed
Enrichment * Two reactor fixed bed/solvent recovery under construction for GACIC at Al Jubail
** BP operates a fluid bed maleic unit at Lima, OH, to manufacture butanediol in its GEMINOX unit The extraordinarily high cost of benzene in 2004 had a major impact on maleic anhydride production
costs, and many benzene-fed units were forced to shut down. Aqueous recovery processes can
provide a larger co-product steam credit than solvent systems. This emphasizes the site-specific needs
of maleic anhydride technology with respect to energy integration. Fixed costs form only a modest
proportion of production cash costs in the 18 – 25 percent range. So while scale is important, energy
integration has a much greater impact on production costs.
Production cost estimates are also included for unsaturated polyester resins, fumaric acid, polyaspartic
acid, and polyisobutylene succinic anhydride.
The report presents global maleic anhydride demand by end use and by region for the period 19982015. Maleic anhydride demand by region in 2004 is shown in Figure 2, while Figure 3 presents the
details of the North American (U.S. and Canada) maleic anhydride market by end use in 2004. The
global supply/demand balance is also estimated for the same period. Corollary information is
provided for North America, Western Europe, and Japan. -5- Unsaturated polyester resins are by far the largest segment of global maleic anhydride demand, and
they are expected to remain so throughout the forecast period. Developed economies are showing
demand growth in line with average GDP. However, demand growth could prove stronger given that
the functionality of the maleic anhydride molecule is constantly leading to new products. If new
businesses based on polysuccinimides and polyaspartic acid can be developed rapidly, then there may
be even stronger demand for maleic anhydride in developed economies. End-use markets like
polyester resins, succinimides, copolymers, agrichemicals, malic and fumaric acids are developing
strongly in Asia, especially China, encouraging new investment.
Figure 2 Global Maleic Anhydride Demand by Region, 2004
13.4% North America(1)
(1) Western Europe
24.0% MA Demand = 1.03 Million Tonnes United States and Canada only
Does not include unrefined MA forbutanediol manufacture
(2) -6- Figure 3 North American Maleic Anhydride Demand by End Use, 2004
Malic/Fumaric A cids
3.1% A lkyl Succinates
3.8% Lube A dditives
8.1% Unsaturated Polyester
& A lkyd Resins
64.6% Total Refined(1) MA Demand = 285 Thousand Tonnes
(1) Does not include unrefined MA for butanediol manufacture ================================================
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