Johnson Matthey and KBR Cooperate on Ammonia-Methanol Process

27th August 2020

Johnson Matthey and KBR Cooperate on Ammonia-Methanol Process

UK specialty chemicals company Johnson Matthey (JM) and US engineering and construction firm KBR have entered into an alliance to license an ammonia-methanol co-production process which they consider as “ground-breaking”.

The process will combine JM’s methanol and KBR’s proprietary Purifier ammonia technologies. The companies said co-production of methanol and ammonia in a single plant eliminates duplication of equipment compared to two stand-alone plants, reducing capital expenditure. In addition, synergies between the two technologies, such as shared utilities, reduce a plant’s environmental impact and operating costs as well as energy consumption.

According to the partnering companies, the process will also provide the flexibility to optimize production and adjust to opportunities within the marketplace, as opposed to separate plants tied to one dedicated product.
John Gordon, JM’s managing director, said: “Methanol and ammonia hold great promise for continued energy and fuels transition to a greener world.” He added: “Our partnership with KBR takes ammonia-methanol production to the next step with a single point license that delivers innovative operational agility to meet ever changing market demand.”
Ammonia is primarily used to produce urea for fertilizer, with methanol and its derivatives mainly used to produce formaldehyde, acrylic plastics, synthetic fabrics, adhesives, paints, and other ingredients in pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals.
KBR has licensed, engineered or built nearly 250 ammonia plants worldwide since the 1960s while JM has licensed over 100 grassroots methanol plants in more than 45 years.

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