Chinese chemical firm LUXI Chemical Group Co., Ltd. will use Honeywell process technology to convert coal into key ingredients used to make plastics.

Announcing the contract, Honeywell said that LUXI will use Honeywell UOP’s Advanced Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) process to convert methanol derived from gasified coal into 293,000 metric tons per year of ethylene and propylene at its facility in Liaocheng, Shandong Province. The deal also includes a suite of automation and control technologies from Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS).

Output from the Liaocheng plant will help meet global demand for ethylene and propylene, which is growing by 4 to 5 percent per year. Traditionally, these petrochemicals are produced from crude oil, but the MTO process allows producers in regions without abundant domestic supplies of crude to produce key plastic ingredients from natural gas or coal instead.

“The technology to turn methanol from coal into plastics has been well-proven in China, which is expected to invest more than $100 billion in coal-to-chemicals technology in the next five years,” commented Mike Millard, vice president and general manager of UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment business. “Eight companies in China have chosen UOP’s Advanced MTO technology, representing a total capacity of nearly 3.2 million metric tons per year.”

The automation and control systems at the plant include the Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) and Safety Manager and feature proprietary UOP operating models to improve operating efficiency.

“Combining UOP process technology with HPS automation and controls will help LUXI maximize its return on investment for the entire project lifecycle — from startup to reaching and maintaining peak performance,” said Aldous Wong, HPS vice president for Greater China. “As competition continues to grow, it is critical that facilities maximize production while lowering total cost of ownership.”