[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Skip to Main Content

Latest News

Advertise Here
November 15, 2010
Volume 88, Number 46
p. 10
DOI: 10.1021/CEN111110152559

Exploiting China's Coal

Petrochemicals: Western firms move to produce chemicals from the Chinese resource

Alexander H. Tullo

  • Print this article
  • Email the editor

Latest News

October 28, 2011

Speedy Homemade-Explosive Detector

Forensic Chemistry: A new method could increase the number of explosives detected by airport screeners.

Solar Panel Makers Cry Foul

Trade: U.S. companies complain of market dumping by China.

Novartis To Cut 2,000 Jobs

Layoffs follow similar moves by Amgen, AstraZeneca.

Nations Break Impasse On Waste

Environment: Ban to halt export of hazardous waste to developing world.

New Leader For Lawrence Livermore

Penrose (Parney) Albright will direct DOE national lab.

Hair Reveals Source Of People's Exposure To Mercury

Toxic Exposure: Mercury isotopes in human hair illuminate dietary and industrial sources.

Why The Long Fat?

Cancer Biochemistry: Mass spectrometry follows the metabolism of very long fatty acids in cancer cells.

Text Size A A

Total developed its methanol-to-olefins process at this pilot plant in Belgium. Total Petrochemicals
Total developed its methanol-to-olefins process at this pilot plant in Belgium.

Three Western companies—Total Petrochemicals, Celanese, and Dow Chemical—are advancing plans to make chemicals in China based on the country’s ample supply of coal.

As prices of imported oil have climbed over the past decade, Chinese chemical makers began using domestic coal to make olefins through a route that starts with coal gasification. Now, U.S. and European firms are also turning to coal as a way to supply Chinese markets from local chemical production based on local resources.

Total and China Power Investment have agreed to study a 1 million-metric-ton-per-year polyolefins complex in China’s coal-laden Inner Mongolia region. The partners hope to complete the plant, which could cost up to $4 billion to build, after 2015. Total would use methanol-to-olefins technology and an olefins cracking process it has been testing in Feluy, Belgium.

Celanese plans to build one or two plants in China that will make coal-derived ethanol through a new process based on the company’s acetyl chemistry platform. “We are very excited about our technology advancement as it allows us to address growing demand for ethanol in industrial applications,” Celanese CEO David N. Weidman says.

Using coal as a feedstock, the Chinese plants will each have a capacity of 400,000 metric tons per year and cost $350 million apiece, Celanese says. It plans to start production about 30 months after receiving government approvals. Celanese already makes coal-based acetic acid in Nanjing, China.

In the meantime, Celanese plans to implement the ethanol technology in a 40,000-ton-per-year natural gas-based plant at its Clear Lake, Texas, complex, by the end of 2012.

Dow is redoubling its efforts on a coal-to-chemicals project that it has been studying with Chinese coal company Shenhua, in Yulin City, Shaanxi province, since 2007. The companies have submitted a Project Application Report to the Chinese government—
an important milestone in advancing the plant. 
Despite the step forward, Dow CEO Andrew N. 
Liveris tells C&EN that the firm doesn’t expect to complete the complex until the end of the decade.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
  • Print this article
  • Email the editor

Services & Tools

ACS Resources

ACS is the leading employment source for recruiting scientific professionals. ACS Careers and C&EN Classifieds provide employers direct access to scientific talent both in print and online. Jobseekers | Employers

» Join ACS

Join more than 161,000 professionals in the chemical sciences world-wide, as a member of the American Chemical Society.
» Join Now!