Core Technologies

Amination

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Amination

Amines are compounds derived from ammonia (NH3) and contain a nitrogen atom with a lone electron pair.

Amination is the process by which an amine group is added to an organic compound. JM Davy’s amination technology is based on an improved form of the Leonard Process, a well-established route to amine production by the vapour-phase reaction of alcohols or ether with ammonia in the presence of an alumina-silica catalyst.

Amination-introduction-molecule2-e1407841153610 Amination-introduction-molecule3-e1407841194930 Amination-introduction-molecule4-e1407841263243

In Context

Davy amination technology drives our methylamines process, reacting vapour phase methanol and ammonia to produce monomethylamine (MMA), dimethylamine (DMA) and trimethylamine (TMA).

We also offer adapted versions of this flowsheet, which further process the methylamine products to generate choline chloride (ChCl), dimethylformamide (DMF) and n-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP).

The amination reactions proceed as follows:

Amination-small-equations1

As part of this process, disproportionation and transmethylation reactions also create amines:

Amination small equation2

Amination Flowsheet

Roll the mouse over the numbers to see further details:

amination one amination two amination three amination four
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Process Description

The Davy amination system centres on a reaction column containing a number of catalyst beds.

The process feedstocks are fresh liquid reactant (alcohol or ether), and fresh liquid ammonia.

These feed streams mix with a composite stream of recycled amines, reactant and ammonia from downstream distillation.

Preheating follows, with the process stream vaporising and then superheating as it passes through a series of heat exchangers.

One exchanger in this step transfers the heat from the hot reactor product stream to the feed. Some feed bypasses this exchanger to control the reactor inlet temperature, which in turn regulates the outlet temperature of the crude product stream.

The superheated feed enters the top of the column and passes down through the catalyst beds, reacting exothermically to form primary, secondary and tertiary amines.

The individual amounts of each amine produced are a function of the feed composition. This in turn is determined by the amounts of each methylamine product recycled from distillation to join the fresh feed streams. By varying the feed ratios, the product slate exiting the reactor can be controlled.

The amination reactor operates adiabatically, and in addition to the feed stream temperature helping to regulate the outlet temperature, the heat of reaction is controlled to prevent an uneven, undesirable temperature profile.

The hot vapour product stream containing amines, reactant and ammonia then travels through a heat recovery system before proceeding to distillation.

The JM Davy Advantage

JM Davy’s amination technology forms the cornerstone of our methylamines flowsheet, which offers the following advantages:

+Highly flexible technology:

  • Allows plant design to deliver optimal product ratios, which can be adjusted online to match future requirements.

+Optimised heat integration:

  • For improved efficiency and reduced operating costs: includes a heat recovery system that recycles exothermic reaction heat to the incoming feed streams.
  • This reduces required energy input.

+Large capacities:

  • High process output available in a single train.

+Lower environmental impact:

  • Flowsheet includes numerous features to prevent atmospheric emissions and to ensure the plant should fall within legislative limits worldwide.

+High product quality:

  • Intelligent, novel downstream distillation scheme yields high product quality.
Related Processes

JM Davy offers the world’s most extensively licensed process for creating methylamines. We also offer additional flowsheets to further process methylamines to value-added compounds. Learn more here:


Related Processes

JM Davy offers the world’s most extensively licensed process for creating methylamines. We also offer additional flowsheets to further process methylamines to value-added compounds. Learn more here: