Urea, also known as carbamide, is a safe, useful compound with a significant history. It is a naturally occurring molecule that is produced by protein metabolism and found abundantly in mammalian urine.
In 1828, the German chemist Friedrich Wöhler prepared the inorganic compound ammonium cyanate in the lab, then heated it, causing it to isomerize into urea. Now known as the “Wöhler synthesis”, the reaction helped to disprove the concept of vitalism, which held that “organic” molecules can be made only by living organisms.
In a reaction similar to the Wöhler synthesis, ammonium carbamate can be converted to urea and water. This is the basis of the process that has been used to produce urea industrially for almost a century. Ammonia and carbon dioxide (CO2) react exothermically to produce the carbamate salt, which is then heated to form urea. The heat produced in the first reaction drives the second. Typically, ammonia and urea are manufactured in the same plant so that some of the carbon dioxide byproducts from ammonia production can be used to make urea.
Global urea production capacity is near 220 million t/year. Because other than ammonia, urea has the highest nitrogen content of all industrial chemicals and is in high demand as a fertilizer. In the soil, it decomposes back to ammonia (actually ammonium ion) and carbon dioxide. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria oxidize ammonium to nitrate, which is readily taken up by the roots of crops.
In addition to its high nitrogen content, urea is particularly useful because it can be applied as a solid in pellet form; and its unusually high solubility in water allows it to be incorporated into solutions with other plant nutrients.
More than 90% of urea production goes into agriculture. The remaining nearly 20 million tons made annually goes into animal feed.


Bitumen is a low-grade crude oil that is composed of complex, heavy hydrocarbons. In an oil reservoir, bitumen is a thick, viscous fluid and must be extracted from the ground. When extracting it, a lot of heat and effort must be used to upgrade it to a better product. Although bitumen is hard to extract from the ground, it can bubble naturally to the surface of the Earth in petroleum seeps. These seeps are places where fossil fuels and petroleum products leak out of the Earth instead of being trapped deep below the ground. Bitumen, asphalt, and tar bubble up into pools in these seeps. Additionally, bitumen is the main fossil fuel component of oil sands. When bitumen combines with asphaltenes a solid is formed that is useful for paving roads.
In addition to being found naturally in seeps and oil sands, bitumen can be produced by removing lighter fractions from crude oil during the refining process. Fractions that are removed are liquid petroleum gas, gasoline, and diesel.
Once crude oil has been extracted from the ground, the production of bitumen can begin. The crude oil is pumped from the storage tanks and through a system that increases the temperature of the crude oil to 200°C. The oil then moves to a furnace, where it is heated even higher to approximately 300°C where it is vaporized partially into a distillation column. Here, the separation of the different components of the crude oil occurs. As lighter components rise to the top, heavy components—including the bitumen—fall to the bottom of the column. This process is known as fractional distillation. Finally, the bitumen is obtained by further distilling the residue in a vacuum distillation column. This type of bitumen is known as straight run bitumen. The grade of the bitumen depends on how much volatile material remains in the distilled bitumen—with more volatiles resulting in a less pure, more liquid product.
Most refined bitumen is used in the construction industry. Mainly, it serves its use in paving and roofing applications. 85% of all bitumen is used as a binder in asphalt for roads, runways, parking lots, and foot paths. Gravel and crushed rock are mixed with thick bitumen, holding it together and it is then applied to roadways. 10% of the bitumen used worldwide is used in the roofing industry as its waterproofing qualities help make roofs function well. 5% of bitumen is used for sealing and insulating purposes in various building materials such as carpet tile backing and paint.
In addition to these main uses, bitumen also has many minor uses. Other examples are soundproofing, explosives, mildew protection, a binder in briquettes, a backing to mirrors, shoe soles, fence post coating and soil stabilization.


Methanol is a type of alcohol (also known as wood alcohol and methyl alcohol) that is mostly used to create fuel, solvents, and antifreeze. A colorless liquid, it is volatile, flammable, and unlike ethanol, poisonous for human consumption. Methanol is also used to produce a variety of other chemicals, including acetic acid.
Small amounts of methanol occur naturally in many living organisms as part of their metabolic processes. For example, methanol occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables.
Production: This fuel is generally produced by steam-reforming natural gas to create synthesis gas. Feeding this synthesis gas into a reactor with a catalyst produces methanol and water vapor. Various feedstocks can produce methanol, but natural gas is currently the most economical.
Benefits: Methanol can be an alternative to conventional transportation fuels. The benefits of methanol include:
Lower production costs—Methanol is cheap to produce relative to other alternative fuels.
Improved safety—Methanol has a lower risk of flammability compared to gasoline.
Increased energy security—Methanol can be manufactured from a variety of domestic carbon-based feedstocks, such as biomass, natural gas, and coal.
Antifreeze: Methanol has chemical properties which allow it to lower the freezing point of a water-based liquid and increase its boiling point. These attributes lead methanol to be used as an antifreeze in windshield washer fluid to keep the cleaning fluid from freezing. It is also injected into natural gas pipelines, where it lowers the freezing point of water during oil and gas transport.
Solvent: Methanol is primarily used as an industrial solvent to help create inks, resins, adhesives, and dyes. It is also used as a solvent in the manufacture of important pharmaceutical ingredients and products such as cholesterol, streptomycin, vitamins, and hormones.

Mono Ethylene Glycol:

Ethylene glycol is produced from ethylene, via the intermediate ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide reacts with water to produce ethylene glycol This reaction can be catalyzed by either acids or bases or can occur at neutral pH under elevated temperatures. The highest yields of ethylene glycol occur at acidic or neutral pH with a large excess of water. Under these conditions, ethylene glycol yields of 90% can be achieved. The major byproducts are the ethylene glycol oligomers diethylene glycol, triethylene glycol, and tetraethylene glycol.
End-uses for MEG range from clothing and other textiles, through packaging to kitchenware, engine coolants, and antifreeze. Polyester and fleece fabrics, upholstery, carpets, and pillows, as well as light and sturdy polyethylene terephthalate drink and food containers, originate from ethylene glycol. The humectant (water-attracting) properties of MEG products also make them ideal for use in fibers treatment, paper, adhesives, printing inks, leather, and cellophane.
MEG is a colorless, odorless liquid with a syrup-like consistency.
۵۵% of MEG is used to make polyester fibers. 25% of MEG is used in polyethylene terephthalate – or PET – packaging and bottles.
Shell opened one of the world’s largest MEG plants in November 2009 at its integrated refinery and petrochemicals hub in Singapore. The plant has an annual capacity of 750,000 tons.
Annual output from the MEG plant in Singapore could produce over two million tons of polyester, enough to make 6.7 billion polyester shirts – more shirts than there are people in the world.
MEG is produced from ethylene via ethylene oxide, which in turn is hydrated by using either a thermal or catalytic production process.
Global demand for Mono Ethylene Glycol (MEG) is strong with the market worth $25 billion and expected to grow 6% annually to 2024. This is especially due to the increased production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and the demand for polyesters in the Asia Pacific. Demand is strongest in China where approximately 70% of the world’s MEG output is consumed.

Styrene Monomer (SM):

Styrene monomer is an organic compound with the chemical formula C8H8. This derivative of benzene is a colorless oily liquid that evaporates easily and has a sweet smell. Styrene is the precursor to several polymers. Styrene occurs naturally in small quantities in some plants and foods (cinnamon, coffee beans, and peanuts) and is also found in coal tar. Styrene is usually produced from the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene. Also, by combining toluene and methanol, and benzene and ethane, styrene can be produced. The presence of the vinyl group allows styrene to polymerize.
The safety of styrene has been evaluated for over 50 years and extensive health and safety studies conducted by manufacturers, academics and government agencies have concluded that, as currently used, styrene-based plastics are safe for consumer use. In fact, the overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that styrene is not harmful in the amounts people encounter – whether in the workplace, or in daily life. This conclusion has been supported by many well-respected international groups and regulatory agencies, including the European Union, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, the U.S. FDA, and Health/Environment Canada.
Some regulatory bodies have assigned a hazard classification to styrene monomer, but it’s important to note that these classifications and listings refer to the monomer, not products made from it. These hazard classifications of the monomer do not reflect the risk for users of styrene-based polymers or end-use products.
Styrene exposure levels for customers and consumers are extremely low – far below the levels in the studies cited by regulators. Styrene is not harmful in the small amounts encountered in everyday products.
With more than 50 years of approved use in consumer products and food packaging, there is extensive scientific evidence to support the safety of styrene-based products. Our customers can continue to safely use styrene polymers for all applications — when used under normal conditions and in accordance with the Safety Data Sheet.
– Used as a raw material for polystyrene and EPS.
– Used as a feedstock for unsaturated polyester resins.
– Used to manufacture SBR.
– Used in the production of homopolymers and copolymers.
– Used for food packaging.
– Used in the construction industry.
– Used to manufacture interior automotive components.
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