Environmental impacts of ethylene production from diverse feedstocks and energy sources
Scholarly/refereed, publisher version
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Quantitative cradle-to-gate environmental impacts for ethylene production from naphtha (petroleum crude), ethane (natural gas) and ethanol (corn-based) are predicted using GaBi® software. A comparison reveals that the majority of the predicted environmental impacts for these feedstocks fall within the same order of magnitude. Soil and water pollution associated with corn-based ethylene are however much higher. The main causative factor for greenhouse gas emissions, acidification and air pollution is the burning of fossil-based fuel for agricultural operations, production of fertilizers and pesticides needed for cultivation (in the case of ethanol), ocean-based transportation (for naphtha) and the chemical processing steps (for all feedstocks). An assessment of the environmental impacts of different energy sources (coal, natural gas and fuel oil) reveals almost similar carbon footprints for all the fossil fuels used to produce a given quantity of energy. For most of the environmental impact categories, the GaBi® software reliably predicts the qualitative trends. The predicted emissions agree well with the actual emissions data reported by a coal-based power plant (Lawrence Energy Center, Lawrence, KS) and a natural gas-based power plant (Astoria Generating Station, Queens, NY) to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The analysis shows that for ethylene production, fuel burning at the power plant to produce energy is by far the dominant source (78–93 % depending on the fuel source) of adverse environmental impacts.
This is the published version. Copyright 2014 SpringerOpen.
Ghanta, Madhav, Darryl Fahey, and Bala Subramaniam. "Environmental Impacts of Ethylene Production from Diverse Feedstocks and Energy Sources." Appl Petrochem Res Applied Petrochemical Research 4.2 (2013): 167-79. doi:10.1007/s13203-013-0029-7.
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