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Author Topic: If petrol consumption has peaked, then  (Read 672 times)
rcjordan
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« on: July 13, 2017, 06:09:40 PM »

a LOT of derivative products -like plastic- are going to have a diminishing supply, so prices will go up.

(It's odd what comes to mind while you're digging a foundation trench.)
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littleman
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2017, 06:24:53 PM »

You are saying that plastics are made with byproducts of petrol production with the effect of supplementing the cost of producing them?
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rcjordan
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2017, 06:35:00 PM »

Right. Huge demand for gasoline, diesel, & fuel oil also produces a lot of the petroleum by-products and distillates that are the main or essential ingredients of a myriad other things. Plastics would probably be top of the list.  Among plastics, PVC is one of our basic 'backbone' products. So, quick search:

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By thermal cracking of naphtha or natural gas, the basic petrochemical industry manufactures ethylene and propylene, etc. Naphtha is mainly supplied from the petroleum refinery industry, which uses crude oil as raw material.
http://www.pvc.org/en/p/how-is-pvc-made
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Rupert
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 09:56:48 PM »

Heard a news item about using plastics in concrete today.

Seems a strange idea after your tyhought.  Except for the waste issues, and the shortage of world sand.
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rcjordan
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2017, 10:08:15 PM »

Wait! There's a sand shortage??  Something else to worry about, LM.

Mining that floating sea plastic is going to be a big deal, I think.
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ergophobe
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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2017, 10:45:32 PM »

>>going to have a diminishing supply, so prices will go up

A friend who is a biologist who does business acquisition in biotech told me several years ago that almost every polymer can be made from biologics. The only issue at this point is cost, but the cost curve is relatively steep since they've only just started optimizing enzymes and such for this. He thought that sooner or later, it would be cheaper to make many plastics and petro-based chemicals without petroleum. As a business strategy, he was looking for the highest margin products because that's the easy place to start. But as your processes get more efficient, you move down the market.

And unlike the petroleum industry, there is the possibility of 100x increases in efficiency.

Now, the caveat there is that despite GW Bush talking about making fuel from cheat grass and corn stalks, we haven't seen any, which suggests that optimizing these enzymes is harder than anyone thought.

But basically, my friend was saying that fuel oil, gasoline and all that are at the absolute bottom of the value chain and that non-petro replacements would start at the top and, he thought, never get to profitability on a broad scale for fuel, and we would have to convert to an electric economy or find other completely different solutions at the bottom of the value chain.
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Brad
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2017, 12:02:23 AM »

Saw an article recently about using recycled plastic in asphalt roads. Claim they last longer.

Which is good because I'm amazed at the amount of plastic I put in the recycling bin each day.  Very little glass, some metal some paper, but a lot of plastic and Amazon boxes.
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Rupert
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2017, 06:36:36 AM »

Bit off thread but:
https://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21719797-thanks-booming-construction-activity-asia-sand-high-demand
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rcjordan
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2017, 10:04:22 AM »

Hurricane Harvey:

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Texas alone produces nearly three-quarters of the country’s supply of one of the most basic chemical building blocks. Ethylene is the foundation for making plastics essential to U.S. consumer and industrial goods, feeding into car parts used by Detroit and diapers sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

With Harvey’s floods shutting down almost all the state’s plants, 61 percent of U.S. ethylene capacity has been closed, according to PetroChemWire. Production may not return to pre-storm levels until November

Prices for ethylene-derived products, meanwhile, have begun to show signs of the looming shortage. Polyethylene prices globally have begun to climb on the expectation that U.S. exports will be slashed

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-01/world-s-most-important-chemical-made-rare-commodity-by-harvey
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ergophobe
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2017, 05:17:18 PM »

Wow... see my comment above. As companies rebuild and retool, will it forcibly be petro-based?
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rcjordan
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2017, 07:21:59 PM »

Better stock up on zip-loc bags.
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