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Case Study Database

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Phillips Petroleum Company

Year Submitted: 2003

Process: Reactor Cleaning

Industry: Chemical Manufacturing

Wastes Reduced: Solvent

Equipment: Process Solvent

Location: Houston Chemical Complex TX

No. of employees: 900

Contact: W. C. Stoltz

Phone: (713) 475-3606


Toluene was used at Phillips Petroleum Company's K-Resin Plant, one of the operating units located at Phillips, Houston Chemical complex (HCC) , to clean certain process equipment of traces of polymer which hinder efficient manufacturing. The resulting rinsate consisted of toluene containing dissolved polymer and could not be reintroduced or recovered in the existing process. This hazardous waste stream was the largest sent offsite from the HCC and the second largest hazardous waste stream generated at HCC, amounting to about 2 million pounds annually. Research and Development efforts continued to identify toluene as the preferred solvent for cleaning fouled process equipment and thus was forced to caution the plant on experimenting with alternatives from concern over production inefficiencies and degradation of final product quality.

P2 Application:

With all this in mind, in the Fall of 1992, the K-Resins operations Manager and his staff, committed to substituting another solvent for toluene in this cleaning service. The alternate solvent is one that is used elsewhere in the K-Resin Plant and is recycled within the process. The result of this substitution is the elimination of the polymer-containing toluene waste stream.

Environmental Benefits:

This material substitution eliminates the generation of about 2 million pounds a year of waste toluene/polymer mixture without generating additional waste or releases from the substitute material.

Details of Reductions

Additional Information :

This project has the potential to save in the range of $500,000/year. The savings result from eliminating (1) the purchase of toluene and (2) disposal cost.

Source: TCEQ

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