Casale began to be involved in methanol in 1928, in view of the close similarity of their synthesis gas production technology.
The methanol process developed in the early days by Casale operated at 250-350 bar and remained the dominant technology for over 45 years, once the fundamental problem of corrosion of the reactor steel by carbon monoxide had been solved by the use of copper clad equipment.
Owing to the massive introduction of large second-generation units operating at low-pressure (45-100 bar), which was made possible by new, more active catalysts, Casale lost most of its market share in methanol. It had practically no involvement in the methanol field from the late 1960s until activities were resumed again in the mid of the '90s, making very successful breakthroughs.
At the beginning, Casale activities focused on revamping synthesis reactors, taking advantage of the know-how gained in ammonia reactor design, and it soon became a leader in the design of methanol synthesis reactors with its well-known ARC design.
With this very reliable and efficient design, Casale modernized several plants based on quench-lozenge technology. The same design has also been licensed for the construction of world-scale grass-root plants.
Casale has also become a leader in revamping complete methanol plants and in designing and constructing new ones.
Key achievements in plant upgrading include capacity increase, reduced specific consumption of synthesis gas, and improvement in the quality of the raw methanol. Casale has also built, and continues building, grass-roots plants including the worldís largest plant with a capacity of 7,000 MTD on a single train.
These plants incorporate the most advanced designs developed by Casale, such as the IMC (Isothermal Methanol Converter). This is the ultimate step in terms of converter efficiency, enabling very efficient revamping and making it possible to design 7,000 MTD converters in a single vessel.
Furthermore, ammonia plants can be retrofitted for methanol production or co-production of ammonia and methanol.