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What are the latest restricted chemical projects?

The Catalogue for the Guidance of Industrial Structure Adjustment provides directions for the investment and construction of chemical projects in China, as well as the integration and elimination of existing projects, and plays a very important role in the structural adjustment of China’s chemical industry. If chemical enterprises want to achieve long-term sustainable development, the Catalogue for the Guidance of Industrial Structure Adjustment is an indispensable policy literature reference.

In the latest Guidance Catalogue for Industrial Structure Adjustment, there are 13 articles listed for restricted chemicals, involving a total of nearly 100 chemicals for production restriction. From the latest restriction policy document, the following points can be seen:

First, most of the chemicals in the restricted category focus on restrictions on the scale of production requirements, i.e., projects below a certain minimum scale of production, which are subject to national policy restrictions;

Secondly, restrictions on production process methods are imposed on production methods that have a greater impact on environmental protection and carbon emissions;

Thirdly, some products with serious market supply conflicts, as well as products that have been clearly eliminated from the market, have been included in the scope of the prohibited category of projects;

Fourthly, among the relevant chemical projects in the restricted category, there exists a large policy restriction threshold for the declaration of new projects, and it is basically unlikely that such projects will be re-approved at this point in time.

What are the chemical projects that are explicitly restricted by the state?

1、10 million tonnes/year or less of normally reduced pressure, 1.5 million tonnes/year or less of catalytic cracking, 1 million tonnes/year or less of continuous reforming, 1.5 million tonnes/year or less of hydrocracking production units.

These units are refineries and ancillary units, and can only be built in refineries or refinery-chemical integrated enterprises, and there are clear restrictions on new construction of such projects. There are clear national restrictions on the production scale and types of such units, but China currently imposes restrictions on the development of the refining industry in general, and therefore basically restricts the main and ancillary units in the refining unit.

2, naphtha cracking to ethylene of less than 800,000 tons/year, acrylonitrile of less than 130,000 tons/year, purified terephthalic acid of less than 1 million tons/year, ethylene glycol of less than 200,000 tons/year, styrene of less than 200,000 tons/year (except for the process of ethylbenzene produced by dry gas), caprolactam of less than 100,000 tons/year, acetic acid produced by the ethylene method, acetic acid produced by the carbonyl synthesis method of less than 300,000 tons/year, natural gas-to-methanol production units (except for natural gas with a CO 20% or more of the CO2 content of natural gas), coal-to-methanol production units of less than 1 million tonnes/year, acetone cyanohydrin methyl methacrylate (except for the use of acrylonitrile by-production of hydrocyanic acid), grain acetone/butanol, chlorohydrin method of epichlorohydrin, chlorohydrin method of epichlorohydrin production units, and saponin (including hydrolysate) production units of less than 300 tonnes/year.

Less than 70,000 tonnes/year of polypropylene, less than 200,000 tonnes/year of polyethylene, acetylene (poly)vinyl chloride, the starting scale of less than 300,000 tonnes/year of vinyl oxychlorination of polyvinyl chloride, less than 100,000 tonnes/year of polystyrene, less than 200,000 tonnes/year of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymers (ABS), less than 100,000 tonnes/year of ordinary synthetic latex-carboxy butylbenzene rubber (including styrene butylbenzene rubber latex) production units, less than 50,000 tonnes/year of nitrile latex units, the construction of new plants, reconstruction and expansion of the production units of chloroprene rubber, butylbenzene thermoplastic rubber, polyurethane, polyacrylates and other types of solvent-borne general-purpose adhesives.

Acid production from sulphur below 300,000 tonnes/year (except for electronic grade sulphuric acid with single metal ion ≤100ppb), acid production from sulphurous iron ore below 200,000 tonnes/year, nitric acid by atmospheric pressure method and integrated method, calcium carbide (except for equivalent replacement by large-scale advanced process equipment), and potassium hydroxide production unit with single-line capacity below 50,000 tonnes/year.

The starting scale is less than 30,000 tonnes/year, the capacity of single line is less than 10,000 tonnes/year of sodium cyanide (discounted to 100%), the capacity of single line is less than 5,000 tonnes/year of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide (except recycling), and the production units of dry-process aluminium fluoride and cryolite with medium and low molecular ratio.

The following points can be seen from these 3 articles:

First, naphtha cracking always adhere to the scale of production restrictions, the current national investment in the construction of naphtha are more than 800,000 tonnes / year, but taking into account the recent large number of new ethylene projects, ethylene, there is a potential risk of oversupply, so the new ethylene projects, even if it is more than 800,000 tonnes / year, there is a large threshold for the approval of new projects;

Secondly, chemical production with by-products as raw materials, or chemical production with low-carbon treatment of high-carbon raw materials, is not within the scope of restriction. For example, natural gas with a CO2 content of more than 20% is used to make methanol and other chemicals, and installations such as acrylonitrile by-production of hydrocyanic acid to make MMA, and ethylbenzene from dry gas do not fall into the category of nationally-restricted products;

Thirdly, small-scale installations of bulk chemicals, such as glycol, styrene, acetic acid, polypropylene, polyethylene, PVC, polystyrene, ABS, synthetic latex, sulphuric acid, sulphurous iron ore acid, potassium hydroxide, lithium carbonate, etc., which do not have the advantage of scaling up and consume relatively high amounts of energy, and for which there are major constraints on investment and construction.

  • Soda ash (except for underground recycling alkali production, natural alkali, and alkali production with comprehensive utilisation of all industrial waste salts), caustic soda (except for ionic membrane caustic soda plant with comprehensive utilisation of all industrial waste salts), yellow phosphorus, ammonium phosphates, sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, diphosphorus pentasulphide, calcium hydrogenphosphate, sodium dichromate of less-calcium baking process, calcium carbonate, anhydrous sodium sulphate (except for the salt industry cogeneration and by-products), barium carbonate, barium sulphate, barium hydroxide, barium chloride, barium nitrate, strontium carbonate, silica (except for the fumed-phase method), and chlorocholine chloride production plant (except for the capacity-equalising or volume-reducing displacement of the production capacity of the entry herein).

The following points can be seen from this entry:

Firstly, chemical production using waste as raw material, such as caustic soda, soda ash and related phosphorus chemical products, is not within the scope of national restrictions if the raw material of the industrial chain is processed with waste as raw material, otherwise restrictions will be imposed on their new projects;

Secondly, phosphorus chemicals, chlorides and some inorganic salts, all of which have high energy consumption and environmental pollution in the production process, and some of which have a greater impact on the pollution of the local environment, are in the scope of restricted products in this request.

  • Nitrogen fertilisers using oil and natural gas as raw materials, ammonia synthesis using fixed-layer intermittent gasification technology, and ammonia synthesis raw material gas purification process by copper scrubbing method are nationally restricted chemical production.

The following points can be seen from this article:

Firstly, fertilisers produced from oil and natural gas are clearly restricted in scope, not only nitrogenous fertilisers, but also the main fertiliser varieties, and due to the existence of a serious oversupply in the market, there exists a large threshold for the approval of new projects, and although there is no clear national restriction on the requirements, it is more difficult to be approved and passed;

Secondly, for fertiliser production projects where there is serious environmental pollution in the production environment, it is the new projects that are being restricted at present, and there may also be the possibility of existing projects being eliminated in the future.

  • There are clear policy restrictions on pesticide APIs that are highly toxic, highly residual and have a high impact on the environment or the quality and safety of agricultural products. These APIs, with high environmental toxicity, high pollution, as well as a higher state of oversupply in the market, belong to the elimination category of pesticide raw materials, and are currently being eliminated from the market one after another.
  • Hydrogen fluoride (HF, except for enterprises’ downstream deep-processing products for self-use, electronic grade and wet process phosphoric acid) production units, methyl chlorosilane monomer production units with an initial scale of less than 200,000 tonnes/year and a single scale of less than 100,000 tonnes/year, methane chloride production units with an initial scale of less than 100,000 tonnes/year (except for organosilicon support) and 100,000 tonnes/year and above, and methylene chloride production units with no carbon tetrachloride by-product support disposal facilities. HFC-143a), 1,1,1,3,3-pentafluoropropane (HFC-245fa) production units (excluding by-production facilities).

The following points can be seen from this article:

First, traditional fluorochemical products are subject to national limitations in terms of scale and traditional production methods, such as hydrogen fluoride, HFC-23, HCFC-22, HFC-234, sulphur hexafluoride, pentafluoroethane, tetrafluoroethane, trifluoroethane, pentafluoropropane, etc., which are required by the Montreal Treaty, and for which there are limitations on the development of phase-out and new construction projects;

Secondly, for chlorine-containing compounds, such as carbon tetrachloride, chlorodifluoromethane and methyl chloroalkylsilane, these products are subject to national development policy restrictions due to the existence of a certain degree of environmental pollution in the production process and the variety of production processes, some of which are backward and obsolete.

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