Novel Catalytic Ammoxidation Process

Period of Performance: 01/01/2008 - 12/31/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

TDA Research, Inc.
12345 W. 52nd Ave. Array
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Acrylonitrile is an important chemical intermediate used to produce acrylic fibers, synthetic rubber, and other polymers. These polymers are formed into products as diverse as fabrics, containers, automobile parts, packaging, and other consumer products. Current catalysts for the production of this product operate at high temperatures and generate large quantities of unwanted byproducts. This project will develop new catalyst formulations for propylene ammoxidation, which will be used to produce acrylonitrile at significantly lower temperatures than current industrial catalysts. Phase I will use automated flow reactor equipment to determine the combination of catalyst formulation and operating conditions that give the best selectivity to acrylonitrile. In Phase II, the catalyst formulation will be further optimized, and the best catalyst will be tested in a bench-scale fluidized bed reactor. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new catalyst should find use as a drop-in replacement for current commercial catalysts. By operating at lower temperatures with greater selectivity to acrylonitrile, the catalyst wouldl enable better process economics, reduced feedstock use, and lower energy consumption. The yield of undesirable byproducts (including CO2 emissions) could be reduced by as much as 50%; propylene requirements would be reduced by 29%; and ~24% less process energy would be required, thereby saving an average plant about $2 million per year in energy costs.