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Simplified Flow Chart for a Commercial Cativa Plant









The simplification of the production plant reduces the cost of new ethanoic acid plants by 30%. There are substantial benefits to be gained by the Cativa process with plants that operate with higher productivity and reduced environmental impact with reduced costs.


Click to refer back to the diagram of the Monsanto process plant.

Compare the two and identify differences which make the Cativa process more advantageous.

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Advantages of the Cativa process.
  • Iridium is much cheaper than rhodium
  • Less iridium is needed because it is so stable that all the catalyst is recycled in the plant
  • The reaction is faster and the quantities of by-products are much lower, reducing the purification costs. For example steam is used to heat the distillation columns and there is a 30% saving of steam over the Monsanto process
  • Some conversion of CO to CO2 still occurs but at a much lower rate.
  • CO utilisation is increased from about 85% to over 94%
  • Overall the Cativa process releases about 30% less CO2 per tonne of product than does the rhodium process.
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