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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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