Shell Catalysts & Technologies is the world’s leading licensor of ethylene oxide/glycol technology. Shell’s affiliates are also among the world’s largest ethylene oxide (EO) producers and are significant global ethylene glycol (EG) manufacturers.
Shell has issued licenses for 89 EO/EG plants worldwide, 53 of which are still operating. Nearly 40% of the world’s EO is produced in Shell-licensed and designed plants. More than 50% of the world’s EO is made using Shell Catalysts & Technologies’ catalysts .
Since the inception of the technology itself, Shell Catalysts & Technologies has been a pioneer in the industry, constantly innovating to develop new catalysts and processes for EO production.
One of these processes is the Shell MASTER process, which is based on catalytic conversion of ethylene to EO and thermal conversion of EO to EG. In the Shell MASTER process, EO and water are converted to glycols by thermal hydration in a tubular reactor. This process yields roughly 8–10% diethylene glycol (DEG) and triethylene glycol (TEG). The MEG yield depends operating factors, particularly the amount of water used in the reaction. Excess water is removed by multiple-effect evaporation, and the individual glycol products are then recovered and purified by distillation.
Shell offers two versions of the MASTER process, each optimised around a family of industry leading catalysts. MASTERHS is optimised around the latest High Selectivity (HS) Shell catalysts, while MASTERHP offers a lower capex solution and operates at higher work rates by leveraging the exceptional stability of Shell’s High Performance (HP) catalysts.
Both the Shell MASTER process and the Shell OMEGA process are based on and optimized around the use of state-of-the-art Shell EO catalysts with high selectivity and high stability that have enabled many operators to achieve at least three years of operation between catalyst changes at an average catalyst selectivity of about 90%.