Exxon Mobil, Georgia Tech - Smart Energy Decisions

Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Industrial  -  August 19, 2016

New technology could slash industrial energy use

Scientists from ExxonMobil and the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new technology that could significantly reduce the amount of energy and emissions associated with manufacturing plastics.

Results of the research were published Aug. 18 in the peer-reviewed journal Science. 

ExxonMobil and Georgia Tech said in a news release announcing the new technology that it has the potential, if brought to industrial scale, to reduce global energy costs used to make plastics by up to $2 billion a year and reduce  industry’s global annual carbon dioxide emissions by up to 45 million tons. 

Using a molecular-level filter, the new process employs a form of reverse osmosis to separate para-xylene, a chemical building block for polyester and plastics, from complex hydrocarbon mixtures, Exxon and Georgia Tech explained. The current commercial-scale process used around the world relies on energy and heat to separate those molecules.

Chemical plants account for about 8% of global energy demand and about 15% of the projected growth in demand to 2040. As global populations and living standards continue to rise, demand for auto parts, housing materials, electronics and other products made from plastics and other petrochemicals will continue to grow.

In the release, Exxon Mobil said improving industrial efficiency is part of its "mission to meet the world’s growing need for energy while minimizing environmental impacts."

The researchers on the technology as written in Science include Lively and Dong-Yeun Koh from Georgia Institute of Technology and McCool and Harry Deckman from ExxonMobil. For more details on the technology, check out the full news release

« Back to Energy Management

  • LinkedIn
  • Subscribe

Smart Energy Decisions Content Partners