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.
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