BASF and Sichuan Lutianhua Co., Ltd. (Lutianhua) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to co-develop a pilot production plant that will significantly reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in producing dimethyl ether (DME) from syngas compared to the traditional process. DME is a methanol equivalent and can be used as an intermediate to produce lower olefins like ethylene and propylene. Currently, DME is produced via methanol as an intermediate from syngas.
According to the MoU, Lutianhua will invest and build the plant with a step-change technology that is developed by BASF and Linde. BASF will supply new, high-performance catalyst systems that enable one-step conversion of syngas to DME while Linde will provide its newly developed process design and engineering for direct DME synthesis. The pilot plant is planned to be built in 2020. The cooperation has been facilitated by the newly established Open Innovation Platform of China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF).