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The Ethane Thread

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

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Re: The Ethane Thread

Unread postby Subjectivist » Sun 18 Jun 2017, 02:34:22

When they run Ethane over a catalyst to covert it into Ethanol how much of the original energy is lost in the process? It is a whole lot easier to store and use in ICE if it gets converted, but does that make up for the energy lost?
II Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
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Re: The Ethane Thread

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 18 Jun 2017, 05:48:36

Sub - This article explains the process in detail. No direct answer but from what I read there is no "energy lost" in the process.

http://www.chemguide.co.uk/physical/equ ... hanol.html

The energy used in the process comes from steam and what energy is used to make the catalyst. But essentially one molecule of ethane is converted to ethanol.

Of course you're now comparing apples to oranges: converting ethane to ethylene has nothing to do with energy storage. It's part of the industrial process to make plastic. Which essentially means 100% of the energy content of the ethane is lost. Unless you want to take into account burning the plastic as a fuel source.

A reminder:

"Ethylene is widely used in the chemical industry, and its worldwide production (over 150 million tonnes in 2016) exceeds that of any other organic compound. Much of this production goes toward polyethylene, a widely used plastic containing polymer chains of ethylene units in various chain lengths. Ethylene is also an important natural plant hormone, and is used in agriculture to force the ripening of fruits. Ethylene's hydrate is ethanol.
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Re: The Ethane Thread

Unread postby Subjectivist » Sun 18 Jun 2017, 11:56:12

ROCKMAN wrote:Sub - This article explains the process in detail. No direct answer but from what I read there is no "energy lost" in the process.

http://www.chemguide.co.uk/physical/equ ... hanol.html

The energy used in the process comes from steam and what energy is used to make the catalyst. But essentially one molecule of ethane is converted to ethanol.

Of course you're now comparing apples to oranges: converting ethane to ethylene has nothing to do with energy storage. It's part of the industrial process to make plastic. Which essentially means 100% of the energy content of the ethane is lost. Unless you want to take into account burning the plastic as a fuel source.

A reminder:

"Ethylene is widely used in the chemical industry, and its worldwide production (over 150 million tonnes in 2016) exceeds that of any other organic compound. Much of this production goes toward polyethylene, a widely used plastic containing polymer chains of ethylene units in various chain lengths. Ethylene is also an important natural plant hormone, and is used in agriculture to force the ripening of fruits. Ethylene's hydrate is ethanol.


Thanks for the link, very informative. Two things though, because you have to make multiple passes to get full conversion and every pass involves making 300C steam, then cooling it to about 80 C water and separating the Ethanol before reheating it into 300 C steam for the next pass there seems to be a pretty large energy input to the conversion process.

Second thing, IMO the world has too much plastic already and more 200 proof Ethanol is a) more fun and b) can make my car go motoring happily along when cut with gasoline or kerosene.
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Re: The Ethane Thread

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 18 Jun 2017, 13:16:02

Sub - "...there seems to be a pretty large energy input to the conversion process." And probably from NG which is relatively cheap now. Same with crude refining: cheap Btu's to make expensive Btu's.
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Re: The Ethane Thread

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 03 Jul 2017, 18:03:46

The shale revolution in the U.S. has led to a boom in domestic natural gas production, to the point that America is expected to become a net exporter of natural gas on an average annual basis by 2018. Abundant gas at home has also led to a renaissance in the petrochemical industry in the U.S. Chemical companies in the U.S. now use the affordable ethane—a natural gas liquid derived from shale gas—as a feedstock. The U.S. chemical industry is outpacing total industrial output growth rate, and accounts for more than half of construction spending by the manufacturing sector. It’s a US$797-billion enterprise that provides more than 15 percent of the world’s chemicals and accounted for 14 percent of U.S. exports in 2015—the largest exporter in the U.S.

Taking advantage of the shale revolution, chemical companies and integrated oil supermajors are now announcing billions of investments in new petrochemicals plants and manufacturing ventures over the next few years. Dow Chemical, which had cut 5,000 full-time jobs and closed 20 plants at the height of the 2008-2009 recession, announced in May this year additional projects and investments that extend its U.S. growth investments to more than US$12 billion over a 10-year period.

“We are using new, abundant domestic energy supplies to provide products to the world at a competitive advantage resulting from lower costs and abundant raw materials. In this way, an upstream technology breakthrough has led to a downstream manufacturing renaissance,” Exxon CEO Darren Woods said.

Shell is also getting ready to begin main site construction of a petrochemicals complex in Pennsylvania in late 2017, with commercial production beginning early next decade. “The petrochemicals complex will use ethane from shale-gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene per year,” Shell said in April. According to ACC, the Appalachian region could become a second center of U.S. petrochemical and plastic resin manufacturing, similar to the Gulf Coast. “Proximity to a world-class supply of raw materials from the Marcellus/Utica and Rogersville shale formations and to the manufacturing markets of the Midwest and East Coast has already led several companies to announce investment projects, and there is potential for a great deal more.” The chemicals industry, which directly touches more than 96 percent of all manufactured goods, is taking full advantage of the American shale revolution.
U.S. Shale Just Triggered A Chemical Industry Renaissance
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Re: The Ethane Thread

Unread postby coffeeguyzz » Wed 05 Jul 2017, 06:01:22

That is an excellent article that touches but a part of a much bigger picture.

Look around you right now.
Just look.
Relatively few products are steel or aluminum or wood.

When people turn their noses up at the thought of plastic, images of floating, unnecessary debris clogging the landscape comes to mind.
But most every container in your house, especially bathroom or kitchen, is derived from gas.
All packaging either delivering/containing food or expediting its disposal is a derivative of gas.
There is a reason historical diseases and famine are not as prevalent as in bygone times.
Every stitch of clothing not 100% wool, cotton or leather contains gas sourced material, especially cold weather gear.
Certainly the manufacturing is influenced by hydrocarbon availability.

The device upon which you are reading these words is largely plastic.

The mere fact that the infamous Foxconn is going to place a new multibillion dollar plant in union country, USA rather than expand in China should scream the significance of what is occurring here.
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