A demonstration plant of a 10,000-ton coal-based methanol-acetic acid to methyl methacrylate (MMA) process was put into operation in Hami, Xinjiang. The technology was developed by the CAS Institute of Process Engineering and is a third route to produce MMA besides the isobutylene oxidation method and the ethylene-syngas method.
Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is an important organic chemical raw material, mainly used in the synthesis of plexiglass (PMMA), surface coatings, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) modifiers, acrylic fibers and medical functional polymer materials, etc. The plexiglass it manufactures is widely used in liquid crystal display light guide plates, LED lamps and automotive lenses. In addition, high-quality MMA is also an indispensable polymerization monomer for the production of aerospace glass, optical fibers, high-performance optical lenses, electronic information devices and other major national strategic materials.
The coal-based methanol-acetic acid green technology for MMA production uses methanol and acetic acid as raw materials to obtain MMA products through aldol condensation and hydrogenation. The ionic liquid team of the Institute of Process Engineering designed and developed a a porous catalyst and a large-scale preparation technology, breaking through the problems of low catalyst selectivity and short life: a long-term stable operation of the aldol condensation reaction was achieved, and ´ a new extraction separation technology solved the separation problem of complex azeotropic systems such as formaldehyde-MMA-water.
Construction began in 2020, and the 10,000-ton/year industrial demonstration plant was completed in March 2022. The product was launched in July. The next step will be to develop and construct a 100,000-ton/year industrial demonstration plant. China develops a green modern coal chemical industry and promotes the development of new coal chemical materials.