MEK is an important component of the distillate (dry alcohol) of dry-dried wood. Industrially made from sec-butanol, butane, etc.
1. Separation of sec-butanol
There are two methods of gas and liquid dehydrogenation. The gas phase dehydrogenation is carried out using a zinc-copper alloy or zinc oxide as a catalyst at a temperature of 400-500°C at normal pressure, and the liquid phase dehydrogenation is performed with Raney nickel or copper chromite as a catalyst at a temperature of 150°C. The liquid phase dehydrogenation reaction has lower temperature, lower energy consumption, higher yield, long catalyst life, and simple separation process.
2. butane liquid phase oxidation
The main product of butane liquid-phase oxidation is acetic acid, while the by-product butanone (about 16% of acetic acid production). The reaction temperature is 150 to 225°C and the pressure is 4.0 to 8.0 MPa. For example, U.S. Union Carbide Corporation used this method to produce 226 thousand tons of acetic acid in 1976, and obtained 36,000 tons of by-product butanone. About 20% of the methyl ethyl ketone in the United States is produced by this method. As of 2011, the methods being studied and developed include liquid-phase oxidation of butenes and isobutylene.
3. Butylene liquid phase oxidation
This method is called the Wacker method. The reaction was performed under the conditions of 90-120°C and 1.0-2.0 MPa using a palladium chloride/cupric chloride solution as a catalyst.
The conversion of butene was about 95%, the yield of butanone was about 88%, and the obtained reaction solution was purified by distillation or the like to obtain a finished product. This process is simple, but the equipment is heavily corroded and heavy metals are required as catalysts. This method has not yet been applied to large-scale production.
4. Isobutylene method
n-Butylbenzene is formed from the alkylation of n-butene and benzene, and isobutylbenzene is generated from the oxidation of isobutylbenzene. Finally, butanone and phenol are decomposed with acid.
Alkylation of aluminum trichloride as a catalyst, the reaction temperature of 50 ~ 70 ° C, isobutyl benzene was; isobutyl benzene at 110 ~ 130 ° C, 0.1 ~ 0.49MPa pressure, liquid phase oxidation to produce isobutyl benzene Hydrogen oxide; then decomposition in the presence of acid catalysts, concentrated at 20 ~ 60 °C oxidation solution, the generation of butanone and phenol, the final separation and purification derived products.  This method is characterized by lighter corrosion of process equipment, mild reaction conditions, and favorable industrialization.