Significant improvements in the technology for the production of phenol have been made over the past decade. New catalysts and processes have been commercialized for the production of cumene via alkylation of benzene with propylene. Recent process design innovations have been commercialized for the cumene hydroperoxide route that remains the process of choice for the production of phenol. All of this effort has been directed at improving yield, process economics/costs, and process safety for the preparation of phenol as a key intermediate for the growing bis-phenol A and phenolic resins markets. A review of technology offerings by major licensors of these new processes is provided as well as a discussion of key process differences and recent advances.
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