U.S. chemical companies and petroleum refining plants may be able to save $100 billion in a 15-year period and improve their competitive edge in the world marketplace by developing innovative catalysts.
These are the results of a study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Conversion and Utilization Technologies program and conducted by DOE's Pacific Northwest Laboratory.Initial estimates indicate that U.S. chemical and refining plants could save $31 billion in capital costs and $69 billion in operating costs during a 15-year period applying a materials-by-design approach to catalysts, James Eberhardt, manager at ECUT Division program, said.
The study was conducted to estimate the energy and economic benefits of applying the materials-by-design concept to develop catalysts in the petroleum and chemical industries. Using this approach, scientists first design a material on a superconductor, then use this refined design to develop a material in the laboratory. PNL believes this approach can reduce research costs and accelerate the development of new materials.
A catalyst is a chemical substance that accelerates the rate of a chemical reaction without itself being consumed. More than 90 percent of all chemical manufacturing processes use catalysts.
Sulfur Production Up
In First 2 Months
Production of Frasch and recovered sulfur for the first two months of 1987 totaled 9.94 million metric tons, compared with 9.86 million tons in the same period a year earlier, the Bureau of Mines said.
Output of Frasch was significantly lower in the first two months of the year, compared with the corresponding period of 1986. Sulfur recovered by petroleum refiners was 13 percent higher than the quantity recovered in the first two months of 1986.
Shipments of elemental sulfur were averaging 9.56 million tons a year. This is a 4 percent decrease on total shipments of 9.91 million tons in 1986.
Producers' stocks at the end of the month totaled 2.80 million tons, compared with 2.75 million tons at year-end 1986.
Imports of Frasch and recovered sulfur for the year to date were estimated to be at the rate of 1.29 million tons a year, or 4 percent lower than the 1.35 million tons imported in 1986. Exports of sulfur for the two-month period were estimated at an annual rate of 0.92 million tons a year compared with 1.90 million tons in 1986.
Apparent domestic consumption of Frasch and recovered sulfur for the first two months of the year was estimated to be at the rate of 9.93 million tons a year.