Natural Gas Can Now Be The Future For Cheap Gasoline And Cheap Plastics

Siluria, has discovered a method of converting natural into the gasoline through research for five years. Natural gas is abundant and have less demand as compared to crude oil. Natural gas is also cheap then crude oil. About $20 for the natural gas is equal to $100 barrel of crude. 
This Siluria’s conversion process, gasoline and mostly oil-derived products may reach to their half price.

Siluria is in the company popular in producing catalysts and such compounds which can reduce the energy required to start another chemical reaction.

Siluria has discovered a catalyst that allows methane and oxygen to react at low temperatures, creating ethylene and water. 

Ethylene is the mostly used chemical commodity , which is used to create chemicals and plastics. Polyethylene to make plastic, consumes more than 50% of the world’s production of ethylene.

Previously ethylene is produced either from refined crude oil product naphtha or ethane. Both are very expensive process. However, Siluria’s process uses special catalyst "pellets" that allow natural gas to combine with oxygen, at low temperatures, to produce cheap ethylene. 

The oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) is the oldest process and many petrochemical gave in 80s. Siluria’s process basically consists of a rapid, automated system that throws new catalysts at the wall to see what sticks. What used to take petrochemical companies a year, Siluria can do in a couple of days. 

Natural Gas Can Now Be The Future For Cheap Gasoline And Cheap Plastics

Siluria’s equipment for making and testing catalysts

Siluria’s catalysts build upon the work of Angela Belcher, who created a genetically engineered virus scaffold that grabs onto nearby molecules in a very specific order and pattern. 

Ultimately, that’s all a catalyst is: A specific substance, with the right shape, that somehow aids a chemical reaction. By varying the virus scaffold, and by altering the molecules that flow over it, a different catalyst is formed. Siluria automated this process, it seems, so that new catalysts can be developed very quickly. The caveat is that, because the catalysts aren’t built to spec by human scientists, they don’t actually know why they work just that they do.

Siluria has been teasing us with this breakthrough for a while, and the petrochemical industry has remained understandably skeptical. Hhowever, with the help of Brazilian petrochemical giant Braskem, the Silicon Valley startup is building a commercial-scale plant in Texas. 

After years of posturing, we will finally find out if Siluria can cheaply produce ethylene and gasoline from natural gas. If it can, we’d be looking at a breakthrough of epic proportions. 

The world has an almost unlimited supply of natural gas, while proven reserves of crude oil are wavering. If Siluria’s catalyst pans out, our lackadaisical adoption of solar and nuclear power may get another lengthy reprieve… whether that’s a good thing or not, I leave to you to discuss.

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