ethylbenzene production

Ethylbenzene alkylation (EBMax℠)  

ExxonMobil’s zeolite catalysts are the heart of the Badger EBMax℠ process. Originally developed by Mobil Oil, the MCM-22 family of zeolite catalysts revolutionized the production of ethylbenzene (EB). With their high activity and selectivity to EB, ExxonMobil catalysts enable a simple, liquid phase process that replaced the older aluminum chloride and solid phosphoric acid technologies – all while improving the ethylbenzene product purity.

Today Badger and ExxonMobil continue to build upon a 35+ year relationship to deliver an optimized, cost-efficient, easy-to-operate technology to enable our customers’ success for the production of EB in the styrenics value chain.

Key benefits

  • Low variable operating costs

    • Superior yields
    • Low B/E and B/PEB ratios minimize recycle and energy consumption
    • High energy efficiency
    • Low consumption of HP steam

  • Lower initial capital investment

    • High selectivity to EB reduces distillation column sizes
    • High activity catalyst enables a smaller reactor volume and catalyst quantity
    • High catalyst activity enables increased capacity

  • check shield

    • High purity ethylbenzene
    • Minimal production downtime
    • Stable yields through the catalyst life
    • Long, stable catalyst life necessitates fewer replacements

Alkylation reactor  

An alkylation reactor uses ExxonMobil catalyst to convert benzene and ethylene to ethylbenzene (EB) in the liquid phase. A small fraction of the EB is further alkylated to polyethylbenzenes (PEB), which is recovered in distillation and converted back to EB in the transalkylation reactor.

Transalkylation reactor  

A transalkylation reactor uses ExxonMobil catalyst to convert the small amount of EB with benzene in the liquid phase. The effluent is sent to distillation to recover the additional EB production.

Purification  

A simple distillation train recovers unreacted benzene, produces EB product, and recycles PEB to transalkylation.

Ethylbenzene technology leadership  

ExxonMobil continues to be one of the leading EB catalyst suppliers in the world.
Since 2001, almost two-thirds of all new and replacement EB capacity was licensed by Badger and use ExxonMobil catalysts. As of 2017, ExxonMobil catalysts are deployed to some 35 EBMax customers and have enabled new grassroot units, revamps of older technology and expansions of ethylbenzene capacity, including many of the world's largest units. ExxonMobil catalysts account for more than 56% of the world's ethylbenzene production, in excess of 20 million metric tons per year, in the Badger EBMax and Badger Vapor Phase processes.

Support from initial consultation throughout the life of the operation:  

  • Initial discussions to confirm client objectives and tailor the solution
  • Feedstock testing and support services
  • Detailed yield estimate
  • Feasibility study
  • Commercial proposal
  • Process design package
  • Catalyst loading and startup support
  • Technology training
  • Technology improvements
  • Performance monitoring and technical assistance throughout the life of the catalyst
  • Worldwide catalyst manufacturing to enable security of supply

EBMax process  

Featured resources

View highlighted news, events, technical papers and case studies below. To see our full collection of resources, browse our Library.
  • ExxonMobil Chemical Library icon

    Summary of technologies offered

    Learn about the cutting-edge, proprietary catalysts and advantaged process technologies that ExxonMobil provides for refining, gas and chemical needs.

    Read more
  • ExxonMobil Chemical play button icon

    Introduction to ExxonMobil Catalysts and Technology Licensing

    See an overview of ExxonMobil's refining, chemical manufacturing and gas processing technologies along with their assortment of specialty catalysts. These technologies and catalysts are used at ExxonMobil's own facilities and are offered for license to customers.

    Watch the video
  • ExxonMobil Chemical play button icon

    Video Case Study - HuiZhou ChungShun Chemical uses Zeolite catalyst for cumene production in China

    Through ExxonMobil’s cumene catalyst and technical support, HuiZhou Chungshun leveraged the performance of the catalyst to expand its production rates while maintaining excellent product quality in order to maximize profitability.

    Watch the video
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