UOP raises prices on molecular sieve adsorbents

By Sarah Smith | April 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted April 21, 2008 at 12:10 p.m. CST

The cost of energy and raw materials has affected a niche market in the ethanol industry. UOP LLC announced April 15 that it's raising the cost of molecular sieve adsorbents used for ethanol dehydration.

Company spokeswoman Susan Gross said the rising costs of chemicals, such as potassium chloride and sodium hydroxide, and continued high energy costs prompted the decision. The price increase will vary by product but will be no more than 15 percent for any given one, Gross said.

UOP is a Honeywell subsidiary. "Our primary business is supporting the refining and petrochemical markets," Gross said. The company is currently reinvesting in manufacturing, research and development capabilities to drive new technology, she added.

"Molecular sieves are a product and a technology that we're heavily invested in and have been for a long time," Gross said. "We actually make those products for many different markets with ethanol being one of the key segments for that product."

UOP invented synthetic molecular sieves more than 50 years ago and is the world's largest manufacturer of these products, Gross said. The company has production facilities in the United States, China, Japan and Italy. Through a separation and purification process, molecular sieve adsorbents are used to dry liquids and gases and remove contaminants such as water, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide in refrigerants, windows and natural gas, Gross said. The adsorbents also have drying applications in the petrochemical processing industry, oil refining, ethanol production, packaging and other industries.

Gross said it would be impossible to estimate how much the cost increases might affect ethanol plant operators because there's no such entity as an "average" ethanol plant. The cost increases will depend on plant size, technology, output, feedstocks and a variety of other factors, she said.

Headquartered in Des Plains, Ill., UOP is an international supplier and licensor of process technology, catalysts, adsorbents, process plants and consulting services.