diethyl ether production, UPR, ecoinvent 3.6, Undefined

ISIC4 categories:
C:Manufacturing/20:Manufacture of chemicals and chemical products/201:Manufacture of basic chemicals, fertilizers and nitrogen compounds, plastics and synthetic rubber in primary forms/2011:Manufacture of basic chemicals
GLO - Global
Reference year: 2000 - 2015

Location: GLO - Global
General comment: Diethyl ether is produced through three main production routes: 1) As a by-product during ethylene hydration (where ethanol is the reference product). This production route produces most of the production volume of diethyl ether (Ullmann’s Encyclopedia). 2) As a reference product in the sulphuric acid process (= ethanol dehydration). 3) As a reference product in catalytic dehydration over alumn. This activity represent production route no.2.
Undefined unit processes (UPRs) are the unlinked, multi-product activity datasets that form the basis for all of the system models available in the ecoinvent database. This is the way the datasets are obtained and entered into the database by the data providers. These activity datasets are useful for investigating the environmental impacts of a specific activity (gate-to-gate), without regard to its upstream or downstream impacts.


The production process presented in this activity is the sulphuric acid process of ethanol dehydration to diethyl ether (Brown, W.H. 2009, Organic Chemistry). The amount of chemicals on the input and output are calculated using stoichiometric relations. The yield of the reaction is 95%. Ethanol and sulfuric acid are heated to ca. 125°C in a ration of 1:3. The ether is distilled with part of the unreacted alcohol. Any sulfuric acid present in the destilate is removed by washing with dilute sodium hydroxide solution. Ethanol is introduced into the sulfuric acid either in vapor or in liquid form depending on the degree of conversion. The process runs continuously for several months and is then stopped to replace the sulfuric acid, which becomes heavily contaminated with tar-like polymers (Ullmann's Encyclopedia). The this polluted sulfuric acid is neutralized with sodium hydroxide before released to the environment.

Process type
Supported nomenclature
ecoinvent 3.6
LCI modeling approach
Before modeling
Multifunctional modeling
Aggregation type
Data provider
Review status
For sale

ecoinvent EULA