Because of Hurricane Harvey's impact on its production process, ethylene, a key building block in plastic and vital to our country's manufacturing industry, has been thrust into the spotlight. So, what is ethylene and how does it affect manufacturing and our daily lives?
Petrochemical plants use the cracking process to extract Ethylene from oil or natural gas as a feedstock. Steam is used to break apart molecular bonds in oil or natural gas, and the gas emitted is separated and sent to processing plants. These plants can convert E into chemical compounds and plastics, which manufacturers use to make many of the products we rely on every day. According to Bloomberg, E is converted into four different compounds. Which are then transformed into a variety of household and other products: The widespread use of E qualifies it as the "World's Most Important Chemical." As demand has increased, E production in the United States has steadily increased since 2008, and it is now regarded as a leading indicator of growth in the manufacturing sector.
Click here for the Ethylene Market press release: