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Technoeconomic Analysis of the Production of Epichlorohydrin from Glycerol

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journal contribution
posted on 28.10.2015, 00:00 by Alberto Almena, Mariano Martín
In this work we evaluate the production of epichlorohydrin from glycerol, the main byproduct in the biodiesel industry. A process flowsheet is synthesized consisting of glycerol purification, reaction with HCl, and final reaction with NaOH to produce epichlorohydrin. Both reactions are complex equilibriums, and recovery of the reaction medium, hexanoic acid, and purification of the products are required. The process is selected based on the use of cheap and available secondary raw materials, namely HCl and NaOH, compared to other technical alternatives. We couple MATLAB with CHEMCAD to simulate the mass and energy balances. Finally, the economic analysis of the process shows that the process is profitable due to the high selling cost of the epichlorohydrin. For the production of 26.5 kt/yr of epichlorohydrin 99.9%, 41.5 kt/yr of glycerol, 29 t/y of HCl, and 15.9 kt/yr of NaOH are needed. The investment adds up to 63.7 M€ with a production cost of 1.28 €/kg.