LyondellBasell is the world's leading producer of propylene oxide (PO), a commodity chemical used in the manufacturing of thousands of everyday products, ranging from antifreeze to cosmetics.
Benefits and Applications
PO is used to make highly versatile polyurethane raw materials which, in turn, are used in the manufacturing of thousands of everyday products. Polyurethanes are used to produce rigid foams for thermal insulation in the construction industry and flexible foams for mattresses, furniture upholstery and seat cushioning in automotive applications. Additionally, PO is a basic chemical used as a building block in the production of intermediate products, which are found in everything from antifreeze to cosmetics.
LyondellBasell estimates, based in part on published data, the worldwide demand for PO was approximately 15 billion pounds (6.6 million metric tons) in 2010. Approximately 90 percent of that volume was consumed in the manufacturing of three families of PO derivative products: polyols, propylene glycols (PG) and propylene glycol ethers (PGE). The remaining volume went into the manufacturing of performance products, such as butanediol (BDO) and its derivatives.
Non-Supported Applications of Propylene Oxide:
LyondellBasell does not support the use of propylene oxide in the following applications:
- Use of PO as a fuel, fuel-blending ingredient or additive for use in fuels
- Use of PO as a fumigant or sterilant or any sort of pesticide
- Use of PO in munitions
From just over 200 million pounds per year (90 thousand metric tons) production capacity in 1969, LyondellBasell and its joint ventures have expanded that capacity to produce nearly 4.6 billion pounds per year (2.1 million metric tons).
Through LyondellBasell’s wholly owned facilities and joint ventures, PO is manufactured in the United States, Europe and Asia. PO supplied to customers by LyondellBasell and its joint ventures utilize three distinct process technologies. The PO/TBA process, invented by Lyondell Chemical Company, yields tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) as the co-product. PO/SM technology, also invented by Lyondell, yields styrene monomer (SM) as the co-product. The third process is PO only technology developed by Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd., LyondellBasell’s partner in the Nihon Oxirane Co., Ltd. joint venture.
In North America, LyondellBasell utilizes the PO/TBA process at its Bayport, Texas facility and the PO/SM process at its Channelview, Texas plants.
In Europe, LyondellBasell operates PO/TBA plants in Botlek, the Netherlands and Fos-sur-Mer, France. In 2003, production began at a world-scale PO/SM plant in Maasvlakte, the Netherlands. One of the largest of its kind in the world, the Maasvlakte facility is a 50/50 joint venture between LyondellBasell and Bayer and has an annual capacity of 700 million pounds (318 thousand metric tons) of PO.
In Asia, PO is provided to customers throughout the Asia-Pacific region by Nihon Oxirane Co., Ltd., LyondellBasell’s joint venture with Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd. In 2010, LyondellBasell’s second PO/SM joint venture plant in Asia started up. Located at Ningbo, China, it is a joint venture with Sinopec ZRCC.
The combination of our proprietary technology, global manufacturing base and extensive experience in the PO market, makes LyondellBasell a dependable, cost-effective and efficient PO supplier on a worldwide basis.