Author Archives: Peter Spitz

New, Middle West cracker breaks the mold

 Last week The Joseph Priestley Society of Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia hosted a luncheon and a speech by Fernando Musa, head of Braskem USA, which is now the largest polypropylene producer in the Americas. The most interesting part of the speech … Continue reading

Posted in Chemical Industry | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

First big carbon capture project moves ahead

 My January 8th post illustrated a combination of carbon capture from coal-fired power plants with enhanced oil recovery from depleted oil fields using the recovered carbon dioxide. With a scheme like this, the considerable cost of extracting carbon dioxide from … Continue reading

Posted in Energy Industry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Shale gas-based ethylene boom: Future planning is essential

 The availability of cheap ethane (best ethylene feedstock) from shale gas and from new, light crude oils has resulted in boom times for the U.S. petrochemical industry. From a position of relative lack of competitiveness, U.S. olefin plants are now the low cost world … Continue reading

Posted in Chemical Industry | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Unusual forms of carbon: Growing Commercial Uses

 Richard Smalley’s team’s discovery of Buckyballs( Fullerene) at Rice University in 1985 was a breakthrough in the knowledge of so-called allotropic forms of carbon. Thirty years have now gone by, but commercial applications of these interesting shapes of carbon are still … Continue reading

Posted in Chemical Industry | Tagged , | 2 Comments

NAFTA can work both ways: Mexico starts to privatize energy

The North American Free Trade Agreement, now over twenty years old,  has been very good for Canada and, even more, for Mexico with both countries’ enjoying highly favorable balances of trade with the U.S.  Mexico is increasingly replacing China as a source … Continue reading

Posted in Energy Industry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

3D Printing comes of age

This blog is about chemical and energy developments of interest to me and, I trust, also to readers following these posts. Since I have wondered for some time about how 3D printing works, I decided to investigate and this is the result. (Full disclosure: … Continue reading

Posted in Chemical Industry, Manufacturing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

GW/Climate Change: Why methane is so important

For some time now, it has become obvious that natural gas and crude oil production from shale deposits results in significant emissions of methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Efforts by drillers and gas distributors to … Continue reading

Posted in Energy Industry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment