By alkylation mechanism alkane (paraffin) is reacted to an aromatic compound to produce a highly quality fuel substitute for gasoline. To improve the octane number of gasoline compounds from alkylation process are blended. Cumene known as isopropylbenzene is produced to use it as an aviation fuel blend. Catalytic alkylation method use aluminum chloride and hydrochloric acid as catalyst to initiate the reaction between benzene and propylene. This technology was proposed by Monsanto and named as Monsanto-Lmmus Crest cumene process.
AlCl3 is category of Friedel-Crafts type catalyst used to add alkyl group to aromatic ring of benzene. Reaction takes place at 130-135 oC and 3.4 to 3.5 atm. Due to exothermic nature heat is released during the reaction. With the help of preheater feed is heated with the reactor effluent and even used to generate steam. Two reactors are used to carry out the alkylation and transalkylation process. Benzene is vaporised in a vaporizer and mixed with propylene. The feed stream is heated to reactor condition along with catalyst. Alkylation reactor converts benzene and propylene to cumene and diisopropylbenzene. The effluent stream is mixed with recycle stream of polypropylbenzenes and passed into transalkylation reactor where it reacts with excess benzene and convert into cumene.
Catalyst is separated from the organic compounds by a water wash in a separator. Separated organic mixture is treated with caustic to remove the traces of acids. Catalyst is concentrated with steam and recycled to alkylation reactor. Cumene is distilled out by a series of distillation towers that splits out unreacted raw materials.