Potassium methylate is used in fine and heavy-tonnage organic synthesis as an alkaline catalyst, in particular in transesterification reactions. Solid potassium methylate and its solution in methanol is produced with a weight content of 30-33%. Recent years have seen a steady increase in the production of biodiesel, for which alkali metal methylate is a catalyst. The use of alcoholate instead of hydroxide allows for a 10% increase in biodiesel output. Potassium methylate consumption per tonne of biodiesel is 18kg.

Himtek Engineering JSC has developed technology for obtaining potassium methylate from potassium hydroxide and methanol with the removal of reaction water in a mass exchange apparatus by methanol vapour surplus.

Potassium methylate synthesis is conducted in a continuous process in a closed circuit with methanol recirculation. Water formed in the chemical reaction and introduced as an impurity with the initial potassium hydroxide source, is removed from the distillation column cube and is treated as waste.

The technology differs from existing ones because the initial raw material is solid potassium hydroxide and methanol, taken in a quantity required to obtain the desired product and the only waste product is water. The process is not energy consuming, and explosive hydrogen gas does not escape during production, which increases the level of safety.

The production process is protected by patent of the Russian Federation No. 2358963 of 10.08.2007.

Raw material and energy consumption per metric tonne of product

The table shows raw material and energy unit consumption for the production of one tonne of 32% solution of potassium methylate in methanol.

Name Unit consumption per tonne of potassium methylate
Potassium hydroxide 0,256
Methanol 0,81
Vapour 5,5 Gcal
Recirculated water (differential 10K) 56 m³