Seamless Chemistry For Sustainability

Johan Thoen

Dow Benelux B. V., Terneuzen, The Netherlands

Jean Luc Guillaume

Dow Europe GmbH, Horgen, Switzerland

INTRODUCTION

The chemical industry manufactures and supplies the citizen of the world with thousands of chemicals essential to daily life. The industry product portfolio ranges, for example, from epoxy resins designed for paints protecting concrete or metal, to membranes for water purification or pharmaceuticals protecting human life.

Two main global trends provide the industry with novel opportunities to continue serving the citizens of the world:

• The first trend toward a growing societal awareness of the environment and citizen safety leads to a need for products to be increasingly designed for reuse or for more benign environmental impact, while requirements for product testing and knowledge about product use are increasing.

• The second trend is nurtured by a rapidly growing demand in emerging economies for products that are expected to have a dramatic impact on the state of the world, as shown in Table 10.1, if the current world production patterns and consumer behaviors continue.

Methods and Reagents for Green Chemistry: An Introduction, Edited by Pietro Tundo, Alvise Perosa, and Fulvio Zecchini

Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

TABLE 10.1 State of the World: 1950-2050

1950

1972

1997

2050

1. Population

2.5

3.8

5.8

10.7

2. Megacities

2

9

25

200

3. Food

1980

2450

2770

2200

4. Fisheries

19

58

91

35

5. Water use

1300

2600

4200

7500

6. Rain forest

100

85

70

45

7. CO2

1.6

4.9

7.0

14.0

emissions

8. Ozone layer

1.4

3.0

7.0

Key: 1. Billion persons; 2. cities with population greater than 8 million; 3. average daily food production in caloriescapita; 4. annual fish catch in million tons; 5. annual water use in cubic kilometers; 6. index of forest cover, 1950 = 100; 7. annual CO2 emissions in billion tons of carbon; 8. atmospheric concentration of CFCs in parts/billion. Source: World Resource Institute.

Key: 1. Billion persons; 2. cities with population greater than 8 million; 3. average daily food production in caloriescapita; 4. annual fish catch in million tons; 5. annual water use in cubic kilometers; 6. index of forest cover, 1950 = 100; 7. annual CO2 emissions in billion tons of carbon; 8. atmospheric concentration of CFCs in parts/billion. Source: World Resource Institute.

To mitigate these two trends, the world should put in place a more "sustainable development," that is, a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generation to meet its needs.1

The search for a more sustainable development translates into two immediate challenges for the chemical industry:

• Feedstock availability, or what alternatives exist to nonrenewable fossil feedstock.

• Energy cost, or what alternatives exist to increasingly expensive nonrenew-able fossil fuels.

In the first section, this chapter describes the current feedstock and energy status within the chemical industry in Europe. This section also summarizes some of the foreseeable problems the industry faces. The second section reviews the various technology options available to mitigate these foreseeable problems. In conclusion, a most probable scenario for change is tentatively be laid out.

10.1 THE FEEDSTOCK AND ENERGY CHALLENGE 10.1.1 The Current Situation

As shown in Figure 10.1, the European chemical industry utilizes around 85 million tons equivalent crude oil as feedstock and around 82 million tons equivalent crude oil as energy, with around 40% of that energy being electricity. Around 70% of the feedstock consumed by the European chemical industry

I Feedstock

CEFIC, 2000

Figure 10.1 European chemical industry today.

I Feedstock

CEFIC, 2000

Figure 10.1 European chemical industry today.

originates from Naphtha (crude oil), while the remainder originates from gas liquids (ethane to butane). Thus, both the current feedstock and the energy consumed by the European chemical industry essentially rely on fossil resources, that is, crude oil (including the crude oil burned by power providers to generate electricity).

Most experts predict that crude oil reserves will last no more than 40-50 years of world consumption, although wide disagreement exists on when the world crude oil production peak will possibly occur.2 The combination of a growing worldwide product and transport demand, as seen in China and India, for example, with a diminishing world supply of crude oil may lead to sharply escalating price levels for crude oil with a detrimental impact on the activity level of industry.

European industry has already improved its energy efficiency by more than 50% (see Figure 10.2) since the first oil crisis in 1975. As a consequence, a dominant part of the current energy consumption of petrochemical companies and its associated CO2 emissions originates from one single primary operation, that is, the cracking of hydrocarbon feedstock to primary building blocks (ethylene, propylene, benzene, etc.). Transforming these primary building blocks into intermediates or polymers demands much less energy (see Figure 10.3), and therefore emits much less CO2.

Exploiting alternative feedstock that would require a less energy-intensive primary operation than cracking, for example, by fermentation, may therefore simultaneously help address the chemical industry's energy challenge and the feedstock challenge, while making a positive contribution to the climate change issue through reduction of CO2 emission.

c UJ

80 60 40 20

The Dow Chemical Company: ■20% Energy: 1990-1994 -2% Energy per year (1995-2005)

5455 Btu/lb

New separation processes New drying processes Catalysis and process engineering Process intensification/integration

Year

5020 Btu/lb

4497 Btu/lb

Growing Soilless

Growing Soilless

This is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to growing organic, healthy vegetable, herbs and house plants without soil. Clearly illustrated with black and white line drawings, the book covers every aspect of home hydroponic gardening.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment