Tag Archives: Alternative chemical feedstocks

Making “Petrochemicals” without petroleum feedstocks: China successfully uses coal

Ethylene has historically been the most important petrochemical building block: a highly reactive molecule made by the high temperature cracking of hydrocarbons ranging from ethane to heavy gas liquids. This is actually not a specific process in that it produces a number of other … Continue reading

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Aircraft biofuel blending becoming a reality

 While there is considerable controversy regarding the Greenhouse gas emission-related benefits of biofuels, a number of air lines, notably United, are starting to use a “natural” jet fuel produced by a process patented by UOP. The fact that this biofuel … Continue reading

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Biobased polymers gaining acceptance

  It’s been getting more difficult to find new, interesting developments in industrial chemistry and energy, which explains why my posts are not as frequent as they used to be. The U.S. petrochemical industry got a robust new lease on … Continue reading

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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

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Disruptive technologies: Mushroom packaging

 This blog has periodically covered advances in bioplastics, such as compostable garbage bags, starch- and sugar-based polymers and other biomass-based materials. The current issue of New Yorker magazine carries a long article about a new technology that uses mushroom spores and … Continue reading

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Corn-based gasohol on way out?

The Federal mandate to inject oxygenated fuels into gasoline to allow cleaner burning car engines spawned a huge gasohol (i.e. ethanol) industry based on turning the starch in corn into sugars, with conversion to alcohol. Originally, gasoline blenders received a subsidy to … Continue reading

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Biochemicals: Desirable Innovation Model

Sunday’s New York Times  a couple of weeks ago had an interesting article on innovation and job creation, with emphasis on the fact that companies are sitting on a great deal of money, because they see so few opportunitie to … Continue reading

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