Sinopec Marks a Milestone in the Development of China’s First Crude Oil-To-Ethylene Technology
- 22-Nov-2021 1:58 PM
- Journalist: Xiang Hong
China’s leading oil refinery and petrochemical producer, China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (aka. Sinopec), has recently achieved a milestone by completing the successful testing of the first industrial application of its newly developed crude oil-to-ethylene technology. The new steam cracking technology features direct conversion of light crude oil to industrially important ethylene and propylene products with skipping of the in-between crude oil refining steps, thereby cutting down the conversion time as well as the associated carbon emissions.
The steam cracking technology, whose successful testing was performed at Sinopec’s Tianjin facility, remains to be the first-ever technology introduced in China, with ExxonMobil to be the only company to have achieved the direct conversion route outside China. Sinopec is currently seeking to patent this technology in its own jurisdiction and on foreign territories.
Ethylene and Propylene are the most fundamentally important starting materials required for producing polymers responsible for the thriving plastic industry across the globe. Ethylene is also widely used for manufacturing ink and paints, antifreeze agents, rubber, and pharmaceuticals. Both ethylene and propylene are conventionally produced from the thermal cracking of ethane and propane components of the natural gas feedstocks which leads to the release of an immense amount of carbon dioxide.
As per ChemAnalyst, the advent of a more convenient and fast-operating technology with a low carbon footprint comes as a hope amid the tightening environmental laws towards the petrochemical industry which has long been accused of being one of the highest contributors to the increasing carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. The new technology is expected to become the torchbearer for the soon-to-come transition to sustainability in the petrochemical sector. Furthermore, with higher competence and low production time, this technology is expected to streamline the supplies of ethylene and propylene in the downstream sector, and promote the country’s exporting capability, thus strengthening China’s competitiveness in the global market. The prices of ethylene and propylene raw materials as well as their downstream products are expected to enjoy the state of stabilization for a long period on wide commercial usage of this technology.