NEW YORK — Phillips Chemical Co. has developed catalyst technology to produce hexene-1, a comonomer used in the production of high alpha olefin polyethylene resins.
Phillips' development could help to reduce the premium costs for high alpha olefin PE resins.
PE resins that use high alpha olefins as comonomers have better performance characteristics than the conventional PEs that use butene-1 comonomers.
Jack Howe, senior vice president of natural gas liquids, chemicals and plastics, claimed current methods for the production of hexene-1 comonomers are more costly than the method Phillips has developed. Howe spoke March 5 at a news conference in New York.
About 1 billion pounds of hexene-1 comonomers now are produced annually as a byproduct in the production of ethylene or through another commercial method, Howe said. The current methods are inefficient and produce a stream of products that is not very rich in pure hexene-1.
The new catalyst technology was developed out of Phillip's 12-year-old efforts to develop in situ catalysts for PE production, according to Don Brady, PE manager for Phillips.
Howe said Phillips intends to build a production line by 1999 near the U.S. Gulf Coast to produce as much as 200 million pounds of hexene-1 comonomer a year. Phillips' process uses ethylene as a feedstock, to produce a stream that is 95 percent hexene-1 with 99 percent purity, Howe said.