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Statement of the Design Project

1,3 propanediol (PDO) is an organic compound which has a wide range of purposes. It can be used as a
solvent, lubricant, functional fluid (Stegmann, 2014).PDO is also used as additive in foods, paintings, printing inks,
cosmetics and liquid detergents (Posada, 2013). Currently, PDO is mainly used as a monomer in the production of
polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT) where it shows various advantages concerning its chemical and mechanical
properties compared to other polyesters used in the textile industries (Stegmann, 2014).
PDO production in the global market increases annually. Growing demand for polyesters such as PTT and
increasing polyurethane (PU) are expected to remain key driving factors for global 1,3 PDO market. Growing demand
for PTT from end-use industries and increasing consumer preference for bio based chemicals is expected to drive 1,
3-propanediol (PDO) market.
PTT is the largest consumer of PDO and accounts for nearly 81.2% of the total market in 2012. In addition,
it is expected to be the fastest growing application with an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.3%
from 2013 to 2019. PU was the second largest consumer of PDO and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.2% from
2013 to 2019. PDO also find application in personal care and detergents. The market of PDO in personal care &
detergents application was valued at USD 25.9 million in 2012. The manufacturers of 1,3-Propanediol have been
closely working with end-users for utilization of their product. The use of 1,3-Propanediol in applications such as
cosmetics, personal care, cleaning and others segment is expected to register the highest growth. Growing PTT
demand across myriad industries is presumed to strengthen the PTT market and in turn, assist the overall 1,3 PDO
market. Increasing PTT acceptance as a substitute for other polyesters is presumed to open up multiple opportunities
for the industry participants. The others segment includes engine coolants, food and beverages, deicing fluids, heat
transfer fluids, and unsaturated polyester resins. (Grandreview research)

Figure 1. Global 1,3 PDO market volume by application (kilo tons)

North America emerged as a leading consumer of PDO and accounted for about 74% of the total demand in
2012. Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing market as many Chinese manufacturers are expected to start
commercial production of PDO in the coming years. The demand for PDO in Asia pacific is expected to grow at a
CAGR of 16.8% from 2013 to 2019. The Rest of the World market is expected to be USD 37.2 million by 2019. While
the European market was valued at USD 13 million in 2012. The demand for bio-based feedstock and the
development of newer applications is driving the growth of the market. (PRnewswire)
In the production of (PDO), chemical routes with petroleum-based feedstocks such as acrolein and ethylene
oxide were used in conventional chemical industries. Shell initially investigated the hydration of acrolein followed by
hydrogenation. This route was further developed by Degussa which was then commercialized. The total cost of
production in 54 MM lb/yr plant is estimated to be $1.50/lb. The second chemical route was hydroformylation and
hydrogenation of ethylene oxide. This was also developed and commercialized by Shell. The total cost of production
in 54 MM lb/yr plant is estimated to be $1/lb. However, these petroleum-derived feedstocks posed environmental
concerns depletion of fossil resources (Anex & Ogletree, 2006).
Biomass is considered to have a major potential as a more sustainable feedstock for the future chemical
production of PDO. DuPont, in a joint venture with Tate and Lyle PLC, known as DuPont Tate & Lyle Bioproducts
LLC, has developed an enzymatic conversion of glucose, based on corn, using a genetically engineered single
organism to produce PDO. They have succeeded in genetically engineering a strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli)
bacterium containing genes from S. cerevisiae for glycerol production and the genes from K. pneumoniae that can
convert glucose to PDO. This route is desirable because it reduces the complexity of the fermentation process (Anex
& Ogletree, 2006).
DuPont has assembled a team to develop a plant design and economic estimate of for a 100 MM lb/yr PDO
plant for $1/lb.