Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC), Tokyo, has announced the development of a new technology for manufacturing butadiene from butenes through the use of a proprietary catalyst. MCC intends to industrialize the new production technology and produce the process design package within the next year.

Butadiene is mainly used as a monomer in the production of a range of polymers and copolymers, as well as in the production of several intermediate chemicals. The largest single use for butadiene is in the production of styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), which is principally used in the manufacture of tires. The demand for butadiene has grown recently, and MCC’s new production technology is expected to enable butadiene supplying capacity to meet the rising demand for all butadiene-related products.

Butadiene occupies about 40% of crude C4s, which comprise about 11% of the fraction that is obtained by naphtha cracking (equivalent to approximately 30% of ethylene), and the substance is produced by a method of extraction from crude C4s.

Although butenes are used for various purposes, the volume of butenes that are consumed as fuel and raw materials for naphtha cracking are very few. MCC’s new technology uses these butenes as raw material to produce butadiene, and the technology can be applied not only to those butenes that are obtained by naphtha cracking, but also to those that are obtained from fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) facilities in petroleum refineries (including next-generation FCC facilities with higher yields of acquiring olefins).