Alternative feedstocks are a critical issue to the chemical industry. Most industrial chemicals are derived from crude oil derivatives (naphtha) or natural gas by-products (ethane, propane) and thus the price and availability is strongly dependent on the fuels market.
The price volatility has a chilling effect on new capacity. Over the last decade, the large rise and volatility in energy prices and corresponding feedstock prices have continued to erode the profitability of American based chemical companies. One response to this cost has been to move operations overseas to tap into lower cost and more stable cost feedstocks (e.g. the Middle East). Another response by American companies is to look at alternative feedstocks that are not derived from crude oil and natural gas.
In this talk, Mark will outline the underlying issues behind these alternative feedstocks needed for chemical manufacturing and approaches we are considering. He will also highlight key separation issues that need to be solved before some alternatives can become economically competitive with traditional feedstocks.
Mark began his career with Dow in 1998 working in Dow’s Core R&D group in Reaction Engineering on a variety of programs ranging from traditional semi-batch polyol reactors to modeling polyurethane reactions on straw for the production of wheat particleboard. In 2002 he moved to Hydrocarbons Research for the support of Styrene Plants, during which time he worked on several projects receiving Tech Center Awards valued in total approximately $100MM and integrated the technical styrene reactor models into commercial cost models to optimize overall production.
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