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Plant for Organic Sulphonation


1. Product Description: Sulphonated and sulphated products, in the form of solutions of their sodium salt, are main components in the manufacture of detergents. These products have found applications in many processes of the textile and leather industries. But the use of detergents in solid and liquid form has been the main reason for the production capacity growth in sulphonated organic substances. Currently, a large number of organic substances can be sulphonated and neutralized, namely-hard and soft dodecyl benzene, primary alcohols, ethoxylated alcohols, fatty alcohols, alkyl benzene and petroleum refinery products. Suphonated alcohols have side application in the textile industry as wetting agents in fiber preparation, dyeing, printing and finishing. They are also used in leather industry in creasing and promoting the tanning and dyeing of high quality leather. In addition, they are used as effective surfocant in herbicide, insecticide and fungicide spray as well as in polymerization processes and for plastic coating and laminating. Sulphonated dodecyl is one of the main raw materials for the production of detergents. At present, detergent factories use sulphonated dodecyle benzene as the main raw material of their products.


2. Market Potential:  The demand for Dodecyle Benzene Sulphonated Acid (DDBSA) which is a product of organic sulphonation depends on the demand for detergents. With 75 million people, Ethiopia has the lowest per capita consumption of detergents. For a long time, the country had only one detergent factory (Reppi Soap Factory). During the last 10 years, one or two small scale detergent factories have been established. In 1997, the consumption of DDBSA was estimated to be 1800 tons per year; and the projected demand of the product for 2009 will be 5135 tons per year. Given the low base of per capita consumption, there is a huge potential to increase the consumption of detergents and DDBSA is Ethiopia. This indicates that there is a large captive market that could absorb the DDBSA production of a number of plants.




3. Source of Raw materials:- The main raw materials are sulfur, caustic soda (solid), linear DDB and dry air. Sulfur and caustic soda could be obtained from domestic sources.


4. Process and Technology: The productions precess of dodecyl benzene sulfuric acid involves air drying, burning of sulfur, catalatic conversion of So2 to So3, sulphonation and gas scrubbing. Dry air is fed to sulfur burner where molten sulfur is burned to So2. The gaseous product, sulfur dioxide, is then led to the catalatic reactor where it is converted into sulfur trioxide. This intermediate product is pumped to a tabular film where it reacts with DDB to form the desired product. The gas scrubbing unit is used to remove traces of sulfur dioxide which did not react to form SO3 for SO2 is one of the hazardous air pollutants. This process is a thermal process. Hence once it starts operation, it has to operate on 24 hour 300 days work schedule. Machinery and equipment needed include air drying unit (11items), sulfur combustion SO2/SO3, conversion, film sulphonation (12 items), double step neutralization (3items), exhaust gas scrubbing (5 items).


5. Estimated Investment: For a plant which can produce 2000 tons per year, the estimated investment cost will be:-


    • Building/shade 800m2 at Birr 2500/m2                 = Birr       900,000
    • Machinery …………………………………  = Birr       7,500,000
    • Working capital …………………………….. = Birr     1,000,000

                                                                       Total                = Birr     9,400,000

Benefits: Similar to other projects.


Location:  Combolcha.