US-based Honeywell’s subsidiary UOP announced that its Tatoray process technology has been chosen by Japan’s Taiyo Oil to enhance operational flexibility and increase petrochemical production at Shikoku Operations in Ehime.

UOP said the technology will allow the plant to increase production of certain petrochemicals by over 70%, as well as give more flexibility to produce petrochemicals or gasoline as demand changes.

Honeywell’s UOP Process Technology and Equipment business unit senior vice-president and general manager Pete Piotrowski said, "The Tatoray process will significantly increase mixed xylene and benzene production, allowing Taiyo to respond to the region’s growing petrochemical demand, and it will give them the operational flexibility to also produce high-quality gasoline as needed."

"We look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with Taiyo as we work to complete this project," Piotrowski added.

Scheduled for operations in 2014, the new Tatoray unit is expected to produce 300,000 metric tons per year of mixed xylene and high-purity benzene.

The plant’s existing UOP Thermal Hydro-Dealkylation (THDA) unit converts heavy aromatics, such as toluene to benzene, while Taiyo will convert the unit to use the Tatoray process technology.

Tatoray process converts toluene and C9 aromatics to mixed xylenes and high-purity benzene without the need for sulfolane extraction.