January 1999

Columns

HP Insight: MTBE – a chemical under fire

Not too long ago, MTBE was the rising petrochemical star of the HPI. Unfortunately, controversy surrounds this oxygenate. MTBE gained national prominence under the clean fuels program from the CAAA. T..

Romanow, Stephany, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Not too long ago, MTBE was the rising petrochemical star of the HPI. Unfortunately, controversy surrounds this oxygenate. MTBE gained national prominence under the clean fuels program from the CAAA. The U.S. government wanted to curb releases of ozone-depleting compounds from vehicle exhaust. The solution was to change fuel composition so that new and older cars would burn gasoline more efficiently. Thus, reformulated gasoline (RFG) had to be manufactured and distributed in ozone noncompliance areas. Uniquely enough, the CAAA thrust MTBE into the spotlight. This ether could easily meet the 2% oxygen requirement for RFG. For over 20 years, this oxygenate had been used in the gasoline bl

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