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LPG as chemical feedstock

With the development of petrochemical industry, LPG draws more attention as a basic raw material for chemical industry. In chemical production, LPG can be turned into ethylene, propylene, butylene, butadiene, etc. through separation process in order to produce synthetic plastic, synthetic rubber, synthetic fibre and also to produce pharmaceuticals, explosives, dyestuff, etc.
LPG is widely used as an alternative feedstock in steam cracking where it is thermally cracked through the use of steam in a bank of pyrolysis furnaces to produce lighter hydrocarbons.  
LPG produced from gas fractionation is of higher purity than that produced from refining, and is a better chemical feedstock. (Where as LPG as a refinery by-product normally contains olefins containing coke that can create unwanted residue in steam crackers that makes it more dirty and expensive to use as a feedstock for petrochemicals.)

Petrochemical consumption of LPG is actually not a new state of affairs, with the industry taking in about 40 percent of total LPG supplies.
In several countries, LPG mainly serves as a petrochemical feedstock for ethylene production through hydrocarbon cracking process and for syngas production through steam conversion.
In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in LPG supply due to the rapid development of shale gas in the United States. This has provided significant growth opportunity for opportunities in the petrochemical industry.

The process of propane dehydrogenation (PDH) is as a result becoming a phenomenon in the LPG and petrochemical industries. PDH converts propane in LPG into propylene, a common petrochemical building block used in the manufacture of plastics and other products. This process takes place independent of a steam cracker or FCC unit.
Propane is not only used as a feedstock for propylene production, but it can be used to make ethylene, another common petrochemical building block for the manufacturing of numerous end-use products, such as pool liners, food packaging, footwear, tires and adhesives. Ethylene is created through a process called cracking – subjecting the propane or other feedstock to high temperatures in order to break the molecules and form the compounds.
It is predicted that nearly half of the world’s ethylene will be produced from ethane and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by 2023, mostly at the expense of naphtha.