Honeywell announced this week the inauguration of a new manufacturing facility in China to make materials used in petrochemical production.

The new plant, part of Honeywell's Performance Materials and Technologies division, will produce catalysts used to covert propane to propylene as traditional sources for this product diminish. The catalysts are used in the Oleflex process developed by UOP, Honeywell's oil and gas processing technology business.

In the past four years UOP has licensed its Oleflex technology to 30 producers globally, including 25 in China. The first two of these new plants came online in China last year, the company said.

"This is another important milestone for Honeywell as we invest in capacity to meet strong customer demand for our game-changing technologies," commented Darius Adamczyk, president and CEO of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. "This investment will support our growth while helping China meet growing domestic and global demand for propylene."

The new facility is located in an industrial park in Zhangjiagang City, Jiangsu Province, and will use local raw materials. In addition to Oleflex catalysts, it will produce adsorbent materials used in applications including refining and petrochemical production and natural gas processing.

In the past, much of the world's propylene was produced from petroleum as a byproduct of making ethylene. But ethylene producers have increasingly been switching to natural gas as a feedstock, and producing a negligible amount of propylene. To fill the supply gap, firms have been investing in facilities specifically for the production of propylene.