Production method: Oxidation of naptha or butane

diagram: product proportions

The process operates at 180 - 200 ºC and at 40 - 50 atmospheres with a cobalt (II) ethanoate catalyst. The naphtha and butane are derived from crude oil. It produces a wide range of products including ethanoic acid, methanoic acid, propanoic acid and propanone. The cost of separation by fractional distillation is offset by the fact that these products can be sold. In contrast, the Monsanto and Cativa processes do not rely on markets being found for co-products.

Uses for co-products

  • Propanoic acid, and its calcium and sodium salts, are used as a mould inhibitors
  • Propanone (acetone) is used as a solvent and in the manufacture of plastics
  • Methanoic acid (formic acid) is used in textile dyeing, in leather tanning, and in the manufacture of latex rubber

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