The METEOR™ Process is a revolutionary technology that represents a paradigm shift in the way the world thinks about the production of ethylene glycol. The basis of design for conventional, competing technologies is the optimization or trade-off between capital, operating and fixed costs, forcing prospective producers to choose between low capital cost or low operating cost.
METEOR changed the competitive landscape by offering both a major reduction in capital requirements and a significant reduction in operating and fixed costs. How? By integrating process simplicity, inherent safety and superior catalyst technology in a single design.
Simplicity and Inherent Safety
The METEOR Process began with the premise that a simple design would deliver capital and operating cost savings, as well as an inherently safer and more operable process. The project team applied this principle as a guiding discipline and delivered a technology with fewer process steps, less major equipment, less bulks and a smaller plot plan than alternative technologies.
The most obvious example of the many design simplifications incorporated into the METEOR Process is the single ethylene oxide (EO) reactor. Whereas conventional technologies implemented in world scale facilities still rely upon multiple reactors and their associated support equipment, the single reactor design was first commercialized as part of the METEOR Process in 1994. The overall drive for simplicity throughout the process has resulted in a 20% reduction in major equipment, 50% reduction in control valves, 30% reduction in safety valves, 40% reduction in flow elements and a 40% reduction in plot plan size.
Beyond providing a direct route to lower costs, the simplicity of the METEOR Process also provides an inherently safer design. Consider the following:
- A single reactor design requires no reaction cycle gas isolation or flow control, virtually eliminating the risks associated with cycle gas flow disruptions or variations.
- There is no isolation or handling of concentrated EO.
- Fewer major and bulk equipment items mean fewer fugitive and episodic emission points.
- With an Emergency Shutdown System (ESS) that spans the entire range of catalyst life, no re-setting of system trip points is required as the catalyst ages.
- Equipment is designed to contain most upset scenarios without relying on safety relief devices, allowing the METEOR Process to meet all U.S. safety and environmental requirements without the need for an episodic flare.
- There are no effluents requiring wastewater treatment.