Tianjin Tiancheng to build 30,000 t per year glycine capacity that uses hydrocyanic acid from acrylonitrile plant 05-09-2023

Summary: On 14 April, the EI report of Tianjin Tiancheng's "project of 30,000 t/a glycine that uses hydrocyanic acid (by-product from acrylonitrile production)" was publicised.

On 14 April, the Environmental Impact (EI) report of "project of 30,000 t/a glycine that uses hydrocyanic acid (by-product from acrylonitrile production)", submitted by Tianjin Tiancheng New Materials Co., Ltd. (Tianjin Tiancheng), was publicised.

There are three chemical synthesis routes for glycine production, which include chloroacetic acid ammonolysis method, Strecker method and hydantoin method. Basically all glycine producers in China apply the chloroacetic acid ammonolysis method, except for Guang'an Chengxin Chemical Co., Ltd. (Guang'an Chengxin). When hydantoin method is applied, the production costs of glycine are relatively low and the quality of final products is high. However, in the traditional application of hydantoin method, disadvantages include heavy investment in production equipment and dangerous factors in the production process like equipment's high pressure and high temperature. Tianjin Tiancheng proposes to build this project, which applies hydantoin method to produce glycine.

Project overview

  • Type of project: New construction
  • Construction site location: Nangang Industrial Zone, Tianjin Municipality
  • Site area: 159,825 square metres
  • Total investment: USD113.95 million (RMB784.00 million)
  • Investment for environmental protection purposes: USD3.01 million (RMB20.68 million), accounting for 2.6% of total investment
  • Construction details: A formaldehyde plant, a hydroxyacetonitrile plant, a sodium cyanide plant (for emergency use), a glycine plant, and their supporting facilities will be built.
  • Production process: After methanol undergoes oxidation and dehydrogenation, formaldehyde is produced. Then hydroxyacetonitrile is produced by the reaction of formaldehyde and hydrocyanic acid. Next, hydroxyacetonitrile goes through ammonification, hydrolysis, and acidification. In the end, glycine is produced.
  • Number of budgeted posts: 450
  • Working schedule: 7,200 working hours per year; continuous production
  • Construction period: 10 months
Table Product scheme of Tianjin Tiancheng's 30,000 t/a glycine project
Production plant Product Production capacity, t/a Note
Formaldehyde plant 37% formaldehyde 100,000 41,500 t/a will be transported to glycine plant, and 58,500 t/a will be for sale.
Hydroxyacetonitrile plant 52% hydroxyacetonitrile 56,000 All output will be transported to glycine plant.
Plant for emergency use 30.3% sodium cyanide 7,000 For sale
Glycine plant Tech-grade glycine 20,000 For sale
Food-grade glycine 10,000 For sale
Electronic-grade iminodiacetic acid 3,900 By-product, for sale
Sodium sulphate 32,000 By-product, for sale
20% ammonia water 3,000 By-product, for sale

Source: Tianjin Tiancheng

Hydrocyanic acid that this project needs will be from "Tianjin Nangang 1.2 million t/a ethylene and downstream high-end new material industrial cluster project" (hereinafter referred to as "ethylene project"), which is being built by China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation Tianjin Branch (Sinopec Tianjin). The 130,000 t/a acrylonitrile plant of ethylene project will also produce 13,900 t/a of hydrocyanic acid as a by-product. Instead of being stored in factory compound of ethylene project, the by-product hydrocyanic acid will be directly transported to Tianjin Tiancheng's production plant through pipelines. Due to safety concerns, Tianjin Tiancheng will regularly overhaul its glycine plant and formaldehyde plant; in the case of overhaul, hydrocyanic acid from Sinopec Tianjin's ethylene project can not be consumed, which will adversely affect the operation of Sinopec Tianjin's upstream production plants like acrylonitrile plant. In order to ensure the continuous and stable operation of Sinopec Tianjin's production plants, Tianjin Tiancheng's sodium cyanide plant (for emergency use), which consumes hydrocyanic acid instead, will be activated to produce 30.3% sodium cyanide that is for sale, when glycine plant and formaldehyde plant are being overhauled. The overhaul of glycine plant, hydroxyacetonitrile plant, and formaldehyde plant, often taking place at the same time, will be carried out three times a year, and each time of overhaul will last for eight days.

With a registered capital of RMB231.60 million, Tianjin Tiancheng was founded in Oct. 2022. 70% of shares in Tianjin Tiancheng are owned by Hebei Chengxin Co., Ltd. (Hebei Chengxin), and the remaining 30% of shares are owned by China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation.

Guang'an Chengxin, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hebei Chengxin, uses natural gas to produce hydroxyacetonitrile, iminodiacetonitrile, glycine, PMIDA, glyphosate, etc. Guang'an Chengxin has a 30,000 t/a glycine project, which applies hydantoin method and has been put into operation since 2016. Guang'an Chengxin's 30,000 t/a glycine project delivers 20,000 t/a of production capacity for tech-grade glycine, 8,000 t/a for food-grade glycine, 500 t/a for food-grade sodium ferrocyanide, 500 t/a for food-grade potassium ferrocyanide, 500 t/a for food-grade disodium ethylene diamine tetraacetate, and 500 t/a for food-grade ferric sodium edetate, as well as produces by-products 2,600 t/a iminodiacetic acid, 44,700 t/a sodium sulphate, and 3,800 t/a ammonium sulphate.


More information can be found at CCM Amino Acid China Monthly Report.

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