Manufacturing Clean, Green Styrene | AIChE

Manufacturing Clean, Green Styrene


Chemical engineers at North Carolina State Univ. (NCSU) have developed a novel catalyst to make styrene manufacturing less expensive and more sustainable. Styrene, a derivative of benzene, is commonly used to make plastics and resins. By 2023, it is estimated that manufacturers will need to produce more than 33 million tons of styrene each year to meet demand.

However, styrene production is highly energy-intensive, as it requires high temperatures and steam generation, which necessitates a great deal of power. Natural gas is typically used as the fuel for the process, producing large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, conventional styrene production is highly inefficient, with a single-pass yield of about 54%.

The NCSU catalyst increases the single-pass yield of the styrene production process, and eliminates the need for steam, thereby reducing the energy needed for the process as well as carbon dioxide...

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