Recently The Dow Chemical Co. (Dow) and Sd-Chemie announced an agreement to research alternative routes to produce chemicals to help reduce dependence on traditional sources of oil and gas. The collaborative research aims to convert synthetic gas (syngas), that can be derived from abundant resources such as coal or biomass, to "building block" chemicals in a more efficient and economical process.
"Conversion of syngas based on coal or biomass is a promising route for the scale that Dow needs to have an impact," said Juan Luciano, senior vice president, Hydrocarbons and Basic Plastics.
As a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, syngas can be produced through gasification and reforming processes from a wide variety of abundant raw materials including coal, petroleum coke, biomass, natural gas and waste products. This highly versatile intermediate can be converted then to "building block" chemicals, plastics, electricity, and transportation fuels with existing technology, but current capital and conversion costs are steep. Dow and Sd-Chemie's research will focus on making the conversion process more efficient and economically viable.
"For many years, Sd-Chemie has been allocating significant resources in the field of catalysts for alternative feedstock conversion. We are very confident that by partnering with Dow, further efficiency improvement on these processes can be accomplished," said Dr. Gnter von Au, Managing Board Chairman and CEO of Sd-Chemie.
Focusing on the development and manufacturing of catalysts for the conversion of syngas to chemicals and the direct conversion of syngas to olefins, this joint research program will be conducted in The Netherlands at Dow's Terneuzen site and at Sud-Chemie's catalyst research and development centers located in Germany and the U.S.