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Environmentally friendly Perspex production

We developed a homogeneous catalyst to enable an environmentally friendly and efficient route for Perspex.


We have enabled the application of a new process, the Alpha Process, for the production of methyl methacrylate (MMA), a key commodity precursor to Perspex. We developed and patented a commercially viable synthetic route to a catalyst.

A commercially viable synthetic route to produce the phosphine ligand...without this early innovation the Alpha process may well not have become the unqualified success that it is.

Dr. Graham Eastham Senior Research Scientist for ALPHA Technology, Lucite International

The Alpha Process

The new technology this catalyst supports leads to several major advantages. It: 

  • utilises the efficient conversion of cheap readily available feedstocks (ethylene and methanol)
  • avoids the requirement for the highly toxic liquid hydrogen cyanide used in the conventional (competitor) process
  • is intrinsically more environmentally benign with no toxic waste products
  • produces a purer higher quality acrylic resin product for higher value end applications
  • is economically cheaper to operate under milder conditions.

Cost saving comparisons

The Alpha Process creates savings of up to 40% on operating costs, over the main competitor technologies.

Greener, more reliable and less costly

Lucite International, the world's leading MMA producer, has invested in major Alpha Process production facilities in Singapore and Saudi Arabia, benefitting from a production route which is more efficient, more reliable and cheaper than conventional routes.

The Alpha Process also brings environmental benefits, as it does not rely on the use of corrosive and toxic feedstocks, such as hydrogen cyanide, which are associated with conventional MMA processes.