Chloroethene from Ethene

Poly(chloroethene) (PVC, polyvinyl chloride) is made from the monomer chloroethene, commonly called vinyl chloride monomer or VCM. Most plants use three high-yield steps, and the overall equation indicates a very good atom economy (87.4%), with the main co-product being water.

diagram: chemical equation Chloroethene from Ethene

Improvements
Although manufacture of the monomer is a well-established process, constant improvements are being made that reflect the need to implement green principles.

Selective catalysts New catalysts are able to reduce the amount of by-products, increasing output
Use of oxygen Although using air as a source of oxygen may seem the simplest option, using pure oxygen from separated air drastically reduces the volume of emission gases
Processing of by-products Chlorine is recovered from by-products either in a form that can be re-used in chlorination, or as hydrochloric acid
Recycling process water Rather than cleaning process water and discharging it, recycling on-site results in reduced water demand
Energy re-use Waste heat from exothermic processes is transferred to where heat is needed on site

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