News Article

Exelus receives DOE funds for piloting styrene monomer process
Date: Oct 15, 2010
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Featured firm in this article: Exelus Inc of Fairfield, NJ

Exelus Inc. (Livingston, N.J.; received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (Washington, D.C.; to help pilot the company's styrene monomer process.

The funds are part of DoE's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) XLerator program, designed to help develop scaled-up manufacturing processes for proven technologies.

The Exelus process involves the side-chain alkylation of toluene with methanol to produce styrene. Conventionally, styrene is produced through the alkylation of benzene with ethylene to produce ethyl benzene, which is then dehydrogenated catalytically to generate the styrene monomer.

Exelus' styrene process offers lower feedstock costs, and the opportunity to avoid the energy-intensive dehyrdrogenation reaction. The company estimates feedstock costs could decrease by $300/ton with its process, and energy consumption would be significantly less as well. The company first demonstrated the styrene process in 2007 (CE, January 2007).

In terms of monomer production rate, styrene ranks fourth in the U.S. behind ethylene, vinyl chloride and propylene.

Exelus says the pilot plant will begin operating in December.