Alternative Routes from Fossil Resources to Chemical Feedstocks

Dobrowolski, G., Kopytowski, J.A., Wojtania, J., & Zebrowski, M. (1984). Alternative Routes from Fossil Resources to Chemical Feedstocks. IIASA Research Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: RR-84-019

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The chemical industry depends very heavily on hydrocarbon feedstocks, which are presently derived almost exclusively from crude oil. Although only about seven percent of the hydrocarbons suitable for chemical processing are actually used in this way, it is already clear that there is a potential conflict between the needs of the energy sector and those of the chemical industry: they are competing for increasingly scarce liquid hydrocarbon resources.

The authors suggest that the supply of hydrocarbon feedstocks to the chemical industry could be protected against the effects of changing patterns of energy use by modifying the underlying industrial structure. They have developed an approach which takes a variety of production processes (either in use or under development), compares their efficiency their consumption of different resources, etc., and finds the combination of technologies that best satisfies a particular demand while staying within the limits imposed by resource availability. This approach uses the techniques of interactive decision analysis to incorporate the unquantifiable social and political factors that must influence any development decision. By way of illustration, the method is applied to one very small part of the problem area: the different routes to the production of methanol.

This report does not attempt to provide any final answer to the problem of feedstock supply, but rather to explain one possible approach to the problem and discuss some intermediate results. It is addressed not only to researchers, but also, and in particular, to all decision makers and industrial consultants facing problems of this type.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Research Report)
Research Programs: System and Decision Sciences - Core (SDS)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:54
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:11

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