Alp Kutlu - Direct Route to Phenol from Benzene

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        This report contains a preliminary process design for a direct   route to phenol from benzene based on the 2009 patent issued to   the Council of Scientific Research in New Delhi. This patent   describes a significantly improved method to produce phenol using   a vanadyl pyrophosphate catalyst. The process evades   over-oxidized byproducts and yield loss. The resulting design   produces the desired 500 million pounds per year of phenol by   combining the ideas presented in the patent and adjustments made   by the design group. The optimal process presented utilizes two   parallel series of three reactors each to produce the phenol.   Through a combination of azeotropic distillation and flash   vaporization, it is possible to achieve greater than 99 percent   pure phenol as a product while recycling all components not   consumed. The plant requires a capital investment of 85.7 million   USD with an internal rate of return of 4.98 percent and return on   investment of 1.48 percent. It is suggested that the research and   development department greatly improve the catalyst activity   while maintaining the selectivity to phenol. Such improvements   would enable the plant presented in this design to be   economically feasible based on the current market for   phenol.


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