June 15, 2006
Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corporation

Commercial start-up of Omega Process facility
Early this month, Asahi Kasei Chemicals began operation of its commercial-scale validation facility using the proprietary Omega Process for catalytic cracking of olefins. Together with the company's Alpha Process for aromatics production, this increases the self-sufficiency of feedstock supply at its Mizushima Works, optimizing and enhancing the competitiveness of operations.

The Omega Process was developed by Asahi Kasei Chemicals for the production of ethylene and propylene, using as feedstocks the C4 and C5 raffinates which occur as by-products of petrochemical plants and refineries. This is made possible by a breakthrough in catalyst design which results in a far lower process temperature than that of the conventional thermal cracking processes.

Advantages of the Omega Process include energy consumption more than 3% lower than with conventional olefins production technology, a large reduction in CO2 emission, and unprecedented selectivity for propylene. With conventional naphtha cracking, the propylene to ethylene production ratio is 0.65 at most. This production ratio with the Omega Process, in contrast, is 4 to 1. Using the Omega Process in combination with naphtha cracking enables the overall propylene to ethylene ratio to be increased to 0.8.


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