Published April 1967
This report describes two routes for producing acetaldehyde from ethylene, one by a single step process and the other by a two step process.
The single step route involves the oxidation of ethylene with oxygen while the two step route makes use of air instead of oxygen. Similar processes have been commercialized jointly by Farbwerke Hoechst AG and Wacker Chemie GmbH.
Ethanol, acetylene, and propane (or butane) also have been used as starting materials for commercialized acetaldehyde processes. The ethanol and acetylene routes were not evaluated because they are not competitive with the ethylene route. Neither was the propane-butane route evaluated since it produces a great quantity and variety of by-products that could present marketing and stock balancing problems. This result is in contrast to the ethylene route where acetaldehyde yields are high and by-products are at a minimum.
SRI did not have access to Hoechst-Wacker process diagrams or plans. Accordingly, the designs used are not to be construed as originating with those companies. Information was obtained from patents and general literature sources. In many instances, when sufficient information was not available, it was necessary to make reasonable assumptions or to delete treatment of an item. These areas are indicated where possible.