Getting More Value from EthyleneEthylene is normally made from either ethane or naphtha. Because ethylene is a gas under normal conditions, it is charged into shared pipelines by the manufacturer and withdrawn from those same pipelines by converters, who make a wide range of polymers, industrial chemicals and fine chemicals used in food, medicine and many household goods. Ethylene manufacturers and ethylene converters are dependent upon one another because they operate within a small region defined by the pipeline which is the storage medium that they work through. Therefore, ethylene prices are regional. In Europe, where ethane is more expensive, ethylene is generally 15 to 40% more expensive than in the USA. In the Middle East where natural gas is plentiful, the cost to manufacture ethylene value drops to 30% to 60% of the cost in North America largely due to the lower cost of gas and naphtha in that region.
The goals of GasRich Transport, LLC, a Synfuels International Company are threefold: First, GasRich desires to provide a safer and less expensive method to move ethylene from a low cost producer to a high value location, generating more profit potential for the low cost source. Second, making ethylene from natural gas expands greatly the abundance of raw material from which ethylene can be made. Third, by making the method of moving ethylene by ship safer and lower in cost, adoption of the technology can occur more quickly.
|GasRich Transport Animation|
Currently, it is possible to transport pure ethylene in the liquid form below -103C, which is safe as long as the transport ship’s refrigeration system keeps the ethylene well below its boiling point. If the refrigeration system stops, the ethylene will begin to boil. Once the gas escapes confinement and can mix with air, there is a chance for conflagration or explosion.
Therefore, compared to methane, ethylene is easier to ignite, burns hotter, needs less oxygen to burn and produces a stronger and larger blast upon ignition of its gas cloud. Perhaps the greatest safety hazard of ethylene gas is that its density when a gas, is very close to that of air. As it boils and warms to ambient temperature, it will tend to stay at the same elevation of the release. It has a very small tendency to rise up through the air. On the other hand, methane’s density is 55% that of air, and has a strong tendency to rise in the open air away from a release. This lower density alone, greatly reduces the hazard to people and equipment of a release of methane compared to a release of ethylene.
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