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The Polyester/PET Value Chain: Process Technology Improvements from BTX to Xylenes and PTA/DMT to Resins/Fibers, 2016-2025


New Multi-Client Study Proposal from TCGR

“The Polyester/PET Value Chain:
Process Technology Improvements from BTX to Xylenes and PTA/DMT to Resins/Fibers, 2016-2025”

As depicted in the Figures below, the value chain to produce polyesters is one of the most complex and challenging of all the large volume thermoplastics in the global market today. The numerous steps range from producing BTX to p-xylene to PTA with EO to MEG and other complex variants into polyester fibers, resins/packaging, and specialties. In a drive toward process optimization, cost-savings, and product differentiation, companies involved in the BTX-PTA/DMT-PET process licensing, catalyst supply, and chemical/resin value chain are developing improvements yielding significant advantages.

Figure: Production Value Chain for BTX to PET
(A) BTX Operations – Aromatics Feedstocks

Source: ICIS Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) 2015

While the industry has certainly turned to production scale to reduce costs (now 1+ MIL tpy per train), the amount of energy consumed in these conversions and separations is very large; CO2 emissions are also significant. Addressing factors such as processing severity, LHSV, feedstock splitting, better integration, and concentration of products processed can (when combined) offer significant advantages and provide considerable savings to any producer.

This TCGR multi-client study will examine where the most value can be created for the producer, licensor, or participant and document new process technologies and practices that will shape the future profitability of recent products and developments to the PET value chain and within the industry over the next ten years (2016 to 2025). Developments that can significantly alter competitive dynamics in both the short-term (<5 years) and long-term (10 years), include:

  • Influences of new feedstocks like bioaromatics
  • Direct routes to MEG
  • Bioglycols from glycerin
  • Direct EO routes from ethane


Specific examples along these lines to include:

  • To Aromatics, BTX, BTX to P-Xylene
    – New processes to remove EB from the feed, either by solvent extraction (GTC Technologies) or from higher conversion with a catalyst
    – Lower C8 ring loss in xylene Isom units, because with recycle this can add up to 4-6% of feed
    – On SMB, single adsorbent vessels (IFP/Axens) and improved pump-around control systems and pumps
    – New sources of C8 aromatics (e.g., methylation of toluene and benzene)
    – Higher conversion in TDP and ADP units (ExxonMobil)


  • P-Xylene to PTA and Variants
    – Variants to create new products (Eastman, Indorama, Mitsubishi)
    – Purity of feedstocks
    – Integrated solutions (Mitsubishi, Indesca)


  • Glycols
    – Omega (Shell/Mitsubishi) process improvements since 2008-2010
    – S2G/Pennakem LLC “sugar-to-glycol”
    – “Bioethanol-to- glycol” as supported by Coca-Cola and practiced by India Glycols Ltd, Greencol, Taiwan; Far Eastern, Taiwan; and others


  • PET Polymerization
    – New Titanate Catalysts; New Single-Site developments (Mitsui, Catalyst Technologies)
    – Better Integration (Mitsubishi, Reliance)


With energy/production costs playing a critical role in competitiveness and product performance differentiation defining market shares between the players, it is as important as ever to obtain industry benchmarking. Thus TCGR’s study—a technical and commercial assessment—is warranted.

The added value TCGR provides is real world operating expertise on how to improve on these examples, from experienced Dialog Group® active industry consultants. TCGR will utilize numerous experienced BTX-PTA/DMT/Glycols-PET value chain technology and commercial experts from industry to assist us to provide insights beyond what other sources that do not have the reach and industrial experience can provide.

In acknowledgement that that the breadth of companies interested in becoming “charter subscribers” will have a diversity of interest and needs, TCGR will seek their input prior to the finalization of the study Table of Contents (TofC) before proceeding.

Additional information, including the complete study proposal, the preliminary Table of Contents and the Order Form, can be downloaded below. For additional study details or to subscribe, please contact John J. Murphy at +1.215.628.4447 or John.J.Murphy@catalystgrp.com.

The Catalyst Group Resources (TCGR), a member of The Catalyst Group, is dedicated to monitoring and analyzing technical and commercial developments in catalysis as they apply to the global refining, petrochemical, fine/specialty chemical, pharmaceutical, polymer/elastomer and environmental industries.

Download PDF:
Proposal – The Polyester PET Value Chain 2016-2025