Title: Production costs of the chemical industry in the EU and other countries: Ammonia, methanol and light olefins
Citation: RENEWABLE & SUSTAINABLE ENERGY REVIEWS vol. 68 no. Part 2 p. 1205-1212
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC97714
ISSN: 1364-0321
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S136403211600229X
DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2016.02.021
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Our study compares chemical production costs in the European Union (EU) and other countries in order to understand whether these costs are higher in the case of Europe than in other countries. Our analysis focuses on ammonia, methanol and light olefins (ethylene and propylene), as all of them are considered chemical compounds produced in large scale. The countries selected for comparison are USA, Russia, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia, since they have high shares of extra-EU28 trade and/or the global installed capacity of the selected products. A bottom-up approach (based on information at facility level) has been followed, including 116, 29, 122 and 224 facilities producing ammonia, methanol, ethylene and propylene respectively. Taking into consideration the complex differences in technologies and co-products between operators, costs are broken down to six components: (1) feedstock, (2) credits (due to co-products), (3) electricity, (4) thermal energy 5) other materials (chemicals, catalysts etc.) and (6) labour and other costs (salaries, overheads etc.). Our findings suggest that it is not easy to reach a common conclusion about the whole chemical industry. Overall costs compare more favourably among countries than initially thought in the case of processes producing co-products, but maybe less favourably when processes are without co-products. The European industry has lower production costs than the industries in the other countries in the case of ethylene and propylene, but higher in the case of ammonia and methanol. Feedstock costs play the most important role in the total production costs of all four products, but the presence of credits due to by-products could change the behaviour of the total costs.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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