A process for producing xylenes, in particular para-xylene that is less energy intensive than conventional processes is provided. In an embodiment the process comprises contacting a feed mixture in an isomenzation zone with a catalyst at isomenzation conditions and producing an isomerized product comprising a higher proportion of p-xylene than in the feed mixture, wherein the catalyst comprises an acidic sulfonated catalytic membrane. Xylene isomenzation can also be coupled with a p-xylene extraction process, where the raffinate (p-xylene deprived stream) from the extraction process is fed to an isomenzation reactor to produce p-xylene. In an embodiment, the process can comprise: a) providing a feed stream comprising a mixture of xylene isomers including p-xylene; b) extracting p-xylene from the feed stream using a separator to separate the feed stream into a p-xylene rich stream and a p-xylene deprived stream; and c) delivering the p-xylene deprived stream to an isomenzation unit, the isomenzation unit including an acidic sulfonated catalytic membrane, and using the isomenzation unit to produce an isomerized product comprising a higher proportion of p-xylene than in the p-xylene deprived stream delivered to the isomenzation unit. In any one or more aspects, the isomenzation unit can be operated at a temperature in the range of less than 350°, for example about 20°C to about 200°C.
|WO 2016097855 A1
|Published - Jun 23 2016