Findeco’s new sulphonation plant was built in 2002, and it started for commercial operation in July 2003. The plant is based on a multitube film reactor technology, which was developed by Ballestra Italy since 1980. The plant is called Sulphurex F, a continuous SO3 sulphonation plant for detergent alkylates, fatty alcohols, etoxilated alcohols, alpha-olefins, methylesters etc. The plant consists of three sections, air drying section, SO3 production section, and sulphonation section.

At the air drying section the air required for sulphur combustion and the production of SO3 is filtered and dehumidified to a dew point temperature. The dried air is then conveyed to the sulphur combustion furnace where it meets the liquid sulphur in counterflow, and converts it to SO2, by burning it. The Sulphur at temperature of 430 oC enters the converter for oxidation to SO3.

This SO3 gas is fed to the upper partof the reactor and equally distributed to each reaction tube. The organic feedstock and SO3 gas are fed co-currently. The special design of the Ballestra reactor ensures accurate dosing of organic feedstock and SO3 gas keeping the exact mole ratio between them.