LyondellBasell starts up world's largest PO and TBA unit
Photo courtesy of LyondellBasell

LyondellBasell starts up world’s largest PO and TBA unit

LyondellBasell has successfully started up the world’s largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) unit in the U.S. state of Texas. These new assets on the U.S. Gulf Coast has an annual capacity of 470 thousand metric tons of propylene oxide and one million metric tons of tertiary butyl alcohol and its derivatives.

The PO/TBA plant at the Channelview Complex is the most energy efficient PO/TBA facility in company history, the company said.

“The world-leading capacity of the new plant positions us to meet the growing demand for products essential for modern life,” said Chris Cain, LyondellBasell senior vice president for Global Manufacturing. 

PO goes into making polyurethane foam typically used to create mattresses and car and furniture seat cushions. It is also used to make insulation, which can be used to increase the energy efficiency of homes and businesses. Other common end uses for these products include liquid detergents, toothpaste, cosmetics, paints and spandex fabrics.

TBA is converted to produce two ether-based oxyfuels, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE). Both MTBE and ETBE are high-octane fuel additives that help gasoline burn more efficiently, reducing emissions from automobiles.

The PO/TBA project is a split facility design, intended to optimise production and leverage synergies shared by the LyondellBasell Channelview Complex located in Channelview, Texas, and the LyondellBasell Bayport Complex located in Pasadena, Texas. The 140-acre PO/TBA plant was built at the Channelview Complex, while the associated 34-acre ethers unit, which will convert TBA to oxyfuels, was built at the Bayport Complex.

The project is part of the company’s multi-billion dollar series of investments along the U.S. Gulf Coast. 

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