Published On: Fri, Mar 28th, 2014

Axens, Total and IFPEN launch Atol™, an Innovative Technology for Bio-Ethylene Production Through Dehydration of Bio-Ethanol

Atol™ is a technology for the most profitable production of polymer grade bio-ethylene by dehydration of 1G and 2G-renewable ethanol. The bio-ethylene produced can be integrated in existing downstream polymerization installations such as polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), polyethyleneteraphthalate (PET), polyvinylchloride (PVC) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) without need for modifications.

Axens, Total and IFPEN launch Atol™, an Innovative Technology for Bio-Ethylene Production Through Dehydration of Bio-Ethanol

Axens, Total and IFPEN launch Atol™, an Innovative Technology for Bio-Ethylene Production Through Dehydration of Bio-Ethanol

Atol is the result of a partnership between Total, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) and its affiliate Axens that started in 2011. Within this cooperation, Total developed a high performance catalyst formulation at its research Center in Feluy, Belgium, IFPEN scaled up catalyst performance within a heat recovery innovative process while Axens industrialized the catalyst formulation and finalized the process scheme with particular focus on energy-efficiency. Total and IFPEN are the co-owners of the technology and Axens is now in charge of commercializing Atol by providing all process licensing related services and catalyst manufacturing.

Atol is believed to be the most advanced dehydration technology and features the highest profitability as a result of:

  • Lower Capex by simplified product purification brought on by the outstanding performances of the ATO 201 catalyst which exhibits a high activity and selectivity towards ethylene.
  • The robustness of its catalyst which copes with any variation in feedstock quality.
  • The highly integrated process scheme which greatly reduces operating costs.
  • Significant potential to be integrated with both upstream ethanol production and downstream ethylene conversion.

Atol is the first of a series of technologies, for the production of other olefinic monomers by processing bio-derived higher alcohols, to be developed in parallel based on Atol’s technology platform.

“We are very excited about this efficient and competitive technology that will be able to meet a growing demand for plastics based on renewable raw-materials. This offer is in line with our strategy to become a leading company in the field of technology for bio-based production of Motor Fuels and Chemicals”, said Christian Dupraz, Axens Senior Executive Vice-President Process Licensing.

“For Total, such collaboration with a reputable research team (IFPEN) and a licensor (Axens), presents a significant lever to bring innovative technologies, driven by a fast-moving bio-market, to commercial readiness. This achievement can now open opportunities for industrial projects.” highlights François-Xavier Cormerais, Total’s Vice-President Research & Development (Refining & Petrochemicals).

“IFPEN is delighted that this exemplary partnership project has opened the way to a bio-ethylene competitive technology that is now ready for industrial implementation”, said Pascal Barthélemy, Executive Vice-President of IFPEN.  

Refining & Chemicals Division of Total, one of the largest integrated oil and gas companies in the world, encompasses the refining and petrochemicals activities, and also the specialty chemicals, with more than 50,000 employees worldwide. The Refining & Chemicals Division is the first refiner and the second petrochemicals producer in Europe, includes 13 refineries, 20 petrochemicals production sites and more than 150 locations in specialty chemicals worldwide. The Refinery & Chemicals Division produces and commercializes a wide range of products from petroleum products to commodity polymers including base chemicals intermediates. Those products are used in many consumer and industrial markets.

IFP Energies nouvelles – IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) is a public-sector research, industrial innovation and training center active in the fields of energy, transport and the environment. Its mission is to provide public players and industry with efficient, economical, clean and sustainable technologies to take up the challenges facing society in terms of climate change, energy diversification and water resource management. It boasts world-class expertise.

Axens – Axens,, is an international provider of advanced technologies, catalysts, adsorbents and services, with a global reputation for basic engineering design excellence. The main scope of Axens’ business is focused on the conversion of oil, coal, natural gas and biomass to clean fuels as well as production and purification of major petrochemical intermediates. Axens’ global offer is based on: highly trained human resources, modern production facilities and extensive commercial feedback from plants using our processes and catalysts all around the world.