Shale gas has currently become more available in the global marketplace. As a result, petrochemical companies; especially the polyurethane and polymer manufacturers, are taking advantage of the more affordable shale gas feedstocks. These world-wide companies are investing to build or expand shale-gas projects in the USA due to the competitiveness of using shale gas. According to the American Chemistry Council in May 2019, over $204B of capital project investment are linked to shale gas and are ongoing in the USA.
Another key market trend is the growth of the global functional polymer industry. It is expected to expand significantly due to bio-based polymers. These polymers are derived from agricultural feedstock, such as potatoes and corn. This feedstock is lowering the dependency on petrochemical products like, polybutylene succinate (PBS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene (PE), and polypropylene (PP).2
With the lower raw material costs, investments to create innovative and competitive products for the marketplace are increasing. This investment change in the marketplace has global companies increasing their budgets for building new plants, and expanding or improving their facilities to accommodate the increase in their production capacities.
Petrochemical, Chemical and Polymer Industry Opportunities:
- Energy Savings – The demand for lightweight materials are rising in automotive, medical, commercial and aerospace industries as well as 3D applications, due to the reduced costs of production and energy savings. The lighter weight the material, the less energy is used to make it, use it and ship it.
- Sustainability/Carbon Capture- As the need for sustainability grows, so do emerging opportunities to create more sustainable products for further reduction of greenhouse emissions during production (i.e. solar panels, lightweight wind blades) as well as bio-degradable end products.
- Innovative Technology –The push for smaller, faster and cheaper technology like circuit boards, nanotechnology, better touchscreens, longer battery-life and faster computing are driving the demand for higher performing plastics to accommodate all these industries.
- IoT (Internet of Things) – In fact, BI Intelligence predicts that global manufacturers will invest $70 billion on IoT solutions in 2020, which is up from the $29 billion they spent in 2015. IoT solutions in the plant include having sensors placed on equipment in factories so that data can be collected about the performance of the machine and systems. This enables factory operators to see when a piece of machinery may need repair, and also provides insight on how to make the entire system work more efficiently.
Using Online Spectroscopy Measurements in the Petrochemical, Chemical and Polymer Industries
With these marketplace growth areas, many customers in the petrochemical, chemical and polymer industries will benefit from using NIR spectroscopy in several keyways:
- Better Reaction Times
- Increased Product Quality/Yields
- Improved Safety
- Creation of New Products and New Formulas
Guided Wave can assist users in measuring various polyurethane compounds such as: Di-isocyanates, polyols, % water, and certain toxic by-products. Some relevant examples for these components include: %NCO, MDI, TDI, DEG, MEG, ETO, and phosgene.