To produce ethyl acetate from ethanol without acetic acid or other co-feeds.
Ethanol is heated and passed through a catalytic dehydrogenation reactor (1) where part of the ethanol is dehydrogenated to form ethyl acetate and hydrogen. The product is cooled in an integrated heat-exchanger system; hydrogen is separated from the crude product. The hydrogen is mainly exported. Crude product is passed through a second catalytic reactor (2) to allow “polishing” and remove minor byproducts such as carbonyls.
The polished product is passed to a distillation train (3) where a novel distillation arrangement allows the ethanol/ethyl acetate water azeotrope to be broken. Products from this distillation scheme are unreacted ethanol, which is recycled, and ethyl acetate product. The process is characterized by low-operating temperatures and
pressures, which allow all equipment to be constructed from either carbon steel or low-grade stainless steels. It allows ethyl acetate to be made without requiring acetic acid as a feed material. The process is appropriate for both synthetic ethanol and fermentation ethanol as the feed. The synthetic ethanol can be impure ethanol without significantly affecting the conversion or selectivity. The product ethyl acetate is greater than 99.95%.
Licensor: Davy Process Technology, UK