August 2014

Columns

HP Petrochemicals: Ethane cracking spurs need for on-purpose butadiene technologies

Several companies are teaming up to develop technology to produce butadiene from the suddenly-abundant butane supplies from the US shale boom.

DuBose, Ben, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

The ongoing shale boom has generally been a welcome development for the US petrochemical sector, but some niche markets have been left out. With olefins producers cracking shale-gas-derived ethane rather than oil-based naphtha, one downside is fewer co-product volumes. That’s especially the case in the US butadiene (BD) industry, which has seen rising shortages as producers switch their feedstocks from naphtha to ethane. The shortfall in butadiene, often used to produce styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) for tire makers, could be as little as 7% over the next decade if the industry shift to gas-based feedstocks is limited to North America, or up to 27% if Europe and Asia also embrace the t

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