DOI: 10.1595/003214000x44394105 ISSN: 0032-1400

The Cativa™ Process for the Manufacture of Acetic Acid

Jane H. Jones
  • Metals and Alloys

Acetic acid is an important industrial commodity chemical, with a world demand of about 6 million tonnes per year and many industrial uses. The preferred industrial method for its manufacture is by the carbonylation of methanol and this accounts for approximately 60 per cent of the total world acetic acid manufacturing capacity. The carbonylation of methanol, catalysed by rhodium, was invented by Monsanto in the 1960s and for 25 years was the leading technology. In 1996 a new, more efficient, process for the carbonylation of methanol was announced by BP Chemicals, this time using an iridium catalyst. This article describes the new process and looks at the ways in which it improves upon the prior technology.