Direct route of ethanol to ethylene oxide

William Mackintosh,RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Södertälje, Sweden

Challenge area: Sustainable alternatives to our current technologies

RISE aims to convert ethanol by direct oxidation to ethylene oxide. This not only helps replace fossil resources with biomass but also makes it financially viable to produce ethylene oxide on-site. This reduces transportation of ethylene oxide, which is classified as hazardous.

The ethylene oxide production process from ethanol via ethylene as intermediate is well established and commercially available. One of the main products is BioMEG used for production of BioPET30. However, these products are more expensive to produce compared to their fossil counterparts.

In order to reduce the cost of producing ethylene oxide from ethanol it is proposed to investigate direct conversion of the ethanol to ethylene oxide. This process appears more operationally facile and may in addition reach higher yields than the existing technology for production of ethylene oxide via ethylene, as supported by literature and patent information.