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Ethylene Oxide

Reliance Industries Ltd,(RIL) India's largest Private Sector enterprise is also India's major producer of Ethylene Oxide.

RIL has India's largest EO / EG Plant with an installed MEG Capacity of 300 KTA and Pure EO Capacity of 56 KTA..The EO/EG Plants, located at Hazira near Surat in Gujarat are World Class manufacturing facilities, set up with the technical collaboration from ABB Lummus Crest, Netherlands (Shell Process).Beginning with an initial Pure EO Capacity of 24 KTA in 1992, RIL has now a total Pure EO Capacity of 56 KTA.

Reliance has grown its Business by laying emphasis on three critical areas:Quality,Safety and Customer Service.

The Quality Management system at Hazira with regard to Manufacture and Sales of Ethylene Oxide has received an ISO 9002 accreditation. RIL has a very strong orientation towards Health, Safety & Environment and this philosophy has been the guiding factor in fashioning its HSE Policies & programs. Impressed by the Health & Safety practices, the British Safety Council has awarded a 5 Star Rating to the Hazira Manufacturing Complex.

RIL has the unique distinction of servicing its EO Clientele round the year, with deliveries made on all 365 days of the year. Proven ability to deliver, coupled with a high level of Customer Service has enabled the company to stay ahead of the competition, and clearly emerge as a leader in the domestic Ethylene Oxide market.

Ethylene Oxide
Ethylene Oxide is manufactured by the direct Oxidation of Ethylene over silver catalyst to yield aqueous Ethylene Oxide which is further purified to make high purity Ethylene Oxide.

Ethylene oxide is a colorless gas condensing at low temperatures to a mobile liquid. It is usually stored in liquefied condition under pressure. It is miscible in all proportions with water, alcohol, ether and most organic solvents. Ethylene Oxide vapour is inflammable and explosive.


Ethylene Oxide is packed in pressurised Road Tankers.


EO is a versatile petrochemical capable of reacting with almost all the Organic Compounds. The major applications of EO are in the manufacture of:

1. Non Ionic Surfactants

Condensates of EO with Alkyl phenols, fatty alcohols etc, find diverse use as non ionic surfactants in the textile auxiliaries, binders, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and oil field chemicals

2. Glycol Ethers

It is made by reaction of EO with alcohol.Glycol Ether is used in manufacture of brake fluids and protective coatings

3. Ethanolamines

Mono, Di, Tri ethanolamines are formed when EO is condensed with Ammonia. They are used for the purification of natural gas in refineries and fertiliser plants

4. Vinyl Sulphone

It is formed by the reaction of Acetyl Sulphonyl chloride, Sodium bisulphate and EO. It is used to manufacture Reactive Dyes for Cotton Fabrics.

5. Polyethylene Glycols

Higher glycols formed by the reaction of DEG / MEG with varying molecules of EO. Depending on the Molecular weight, the PEG’s find use in Pharmaceuticals, cosmetics etc.  


1 Appearance - Clear Colourless Liquid
2 Suspended Matter - Nil
3 Water mg/kg 100 max.
4 Ethylene Oxide wt. % 99.96 min.
5 Aldehyde as CH3CHO mg/kg 20 max.
6 Carbon Dioxide mg/kg 10 max.
7 Non Volatile Residue mg/kg 10 max.


Ethylene Oxide is a colourless liquid below 10.76oC and 760 mm of Hg, lighter than water. It has a sweet, pungent ether-like odour. Ethylene oxide is extremely flammable, highly reactive and toxic compound. The vapours are heavier than air and explosive in nature. Contamination with many materials including metal oxides, metal halides, acid and alkalis, metal hydroxides can lead to runaway polymerization reaction which always generates heat and can be explosively violent. The liquid vaporises rapidly and can produce severe eye and skin burns. Ethylene oxide may cause delayed skin burns even if only dilute solutions remain on the skin. Short term exposures to EO vapours can result in difficulty in breathing, coughing, lung irritation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, unconsciousness, and even death. Longer exposure to high concentrations may cause severe damage to lungs, nervous system, reproductive system and other organs.

Ethylene oxide is also toxic to the developing fetus and is mutagenic, suggesting it may cause hereditary defects. Ethylene oxide is known as animal carcinogen and there is a limited evidence that it may cause cancer in man.

Training, proper personal protective equipment and strict adherence to recommended and precise work place practices are essential whenever ethylene oxide is handled, used or stored.

Molecular Weight 44
Physical Form Liquefied Gas under pressure
Boiling Point @ 760 mm Hg 10.5 0 C
Flash Point (Open Cup) - 17.8 0 C
Melting Point - 111.3 0 C
Liquid Density at 4 0 C 0.89 gm / ml
Vapour Density at 20 0 C 1.52 gm / ml
Vapour Pressure at 20 0 C 1095 mm Hg
Flammable Limits in air  
Lower Limit 3 % by Volume
Upper Limit 100 % by Volume
U . N . No. 1040
Haz Chem 2PE


Ethylene oxide (EO) is a hazardous material in terms of toxicity, flammability and explosive instability, however, it can be handled and stored with safety provided appropriate precautions are observed. This guide describes general properties of ethylene oxide, hazards involved in handling and the precautions which can be taken to minimize the risks in handling ethylene oxide with the aim of achieving a uniformity of approach to operation and maintenance of chemical handling pure ethylene oxide or mixtures in which ethylene oxide represents a substantial proportion.

There is no suggestion that this guide represents the final word and it is accepted that it may have to be brought up to date as dictated by further experience and technology changes.

Hazards of Ethylene Oxide Safe storage and handling
Health hazards Safe operation of facilities
Environmental Aspects Emergency procedures
MSDS Product Risk Assessment