Chevron Phillips Chemical produces styrene monomer at its St. James, Louisiana plant. Approximately 30% is consumed by Chevron Phillips Chemical’s polystyrene plant in Marietta, Ohio and its K-Resin® styrene-butadiene copolymer plant in Pasadena, Texas. The remainder is marketed to various customers from the St. James plant and from domestic terminals.
How It's Made
Styrene is one of the most important monomers produced by the chemical industry today. Styrene monomer is a basic building block of the plastics industry. The conventional method of producing styrene involves the alkylation of benzene with ethylene to produce ethylbenzene, followed by dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene to styrene. Styrene undergoes polymerization by all the common methods used in plastics technology to produce a wide variety of polymers and copolymers. Styrene is readily polymerized and copolymerized by both batch and continuous mass polymerization, emulsion, suspension and solution processes.
How It's Transported
Styrene is shipped in oceangoing vessels, barges, tank cars and tank trucks from either the St. James plant or distribution terminals located in the United States.
What It's Used For
The most important products are solid polystyrene (PS), expandable polystyrene (EPS), styrene butadiene latex (SBL), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene/terpolymer (ABS), unsaturated polyester resins (UPR), and styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR). An approximate breakdown of styrene’s markets are:
54% solid polystyrene (PS)
8% expandable polystyrene (EPS)
8% styrene butadiene latex (SBL)
7% acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene/terpolymer (ABS)
7% unsaturated polyester resins (UPR)
5% styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR)
Polystyrene is primarily used in packaging, disposables and low-cost consumer products. Expandable polystyrene beads are primarily used in food and beverage packaging, insulation and cushion packaging. Improved grades of resins are used in higher performance applications, such as home electronics and appliances. ABS and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) have many uses in the consumer durables market.
Styrene-based polyesters enjoy long service life in both indoor and outdoor applications, e.g., polyester boats typically last longer than boats made from conventional materials. Thermoplastic elastomers are directly replacing natural and traditional synthetic rubbers in many established applications and entering new markets. Other applications include carpet backing (SB Latex), production of tires (SB Rubber) and castings for textiles and paper. Many products made from styrene are recyclable. Chevron Phillips Chemical along with other polystyrene producers formed the National Polystyrene Recycling Company (NPRC) to recycle post-consumer polystyrene. Recycled polystyrene is used in packaging, construction materials, video cassettes, office supplies and other useful products.
Safe Handling and Storage of Styrene Monomer