Renewable Alternative in the Petrochemical Industry - WorldOfChemicals

Taking the Petro Out of the Petrochemicals Industry

Category : Industry Chemicals
Published by : Data Research Analyst, Worldofchemicals.com

Fossil fuels form the basis for the petrochemicals industry providing plastics, feedstocks, fertilizers, clothing and much more.Recent researches have shown the possibility of a sustainable alternative, which can be achieved from electrosynthesis.This technology has the potential to reduce the dependence on oil and gas.

There is a rising demand for fossil fuel derivatives due to the growing population. A massive transformation must happen to change the system. There are alternatives in few sectors, such as electric vehicles for internal combustion engines.The petrochemical industry can achieve this through renewable electrosynthesis.

 

Electrosynthesis

The petrochemical industry deals with the intake of long chain molecules of carbon, which is subjected to high pressure and heat, before it is converted into chemical building blocks. These building blocked are used to manufacture plastics, fibers, fertilizers, etc. 

Instead of relying on fossil fuels, carbon dioxide from air can be utilized. Through this method, chemical building blocks can be produced under normal temperature conditions with the help of innovative catalysts. Electricity for this process can be derived from renewable sources like solar, wind or hydro power. This is collectively known as renewable electrosynthesis.

 

Advantages

The advantages of electrosynthesis in the petrochemicals industry are the throughput and speed. Plants are inefficient in utilizing carbon dioxide as their energy gets expended in reproduction and metabolism, apart from synthesis of materials. Whereas electrosynthesis can deliver great results from utilization of carbon dioxide with much greater efficiency.

 

Challenges

It is difficult to engineer catalysts that have a higher electrical to chemical conversion efficiency. Ethylene has achieved 25% efficiency, whereas carbon monoxide has achieved approximately 50% efficiency. These have been conducted in laboratories and have not been produced on a commercial scale. However, there is a potential for the commercialization of these chemical building blocks.

 

Conclusion 

In the present scenario, the focus is on converting parts of the petrochemical supply chain into electrosynthesis. There is a need for recycled chemical building blocks, which are efficient and synthesized using renewable sources of energy.The prevailing issue of the petrochemical industry can only be addressed through the electrification of supply chain segments’.This would pave the way for building an alternative system.