Fatty alcohols are key materials in the oleochemical field. Their derivatives play numerous and important roles in both consumer and industrial chemical products. To establish technologies for the efficient production of high-quality fatty alcohols, Kao has developed new catalysts and created a new fixed-bed reaction process that promises milder reaction conditions.
In our research and development of processes, we began with a study of physicochemical phenomena using chemical engineering methods such as analyses of reaction kinetics and mass and heat transfer, as well as estimation of high-pressure vapor-liquid equilibrium. This was followed by the identification of all reaction schemes occurring at the reaction site, based on basic data obtained from batch and continuous-bench reactors. After clarifying mass diffusion and exothermic behavior shown by these substances in the micro-pores of the catalyst, we developed a simulation technology that expresses the progress of reactions occurring inside the reactor. We have also developed a pilot reactor to verify temperature control methods suggested by the simulations. Finally, we successfully developed a temperature control technology that minimizes the formation of by-products.
The results of all of this research, combined with the introduction of our proprietary high-performance catalysts, have been applied to commercial plants. Currently we have a production capacity of approximately 300,000 tons of fatty alcohols that provide basic ingredients for many Kao products. We also supply many companies in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.
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