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, from Jubail Chevron Phillips Petrochemical Plant (a joint venture facility).
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:
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 (SBL), production of tires (SBR) 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, office supplies and other useful products.
Amy Meyersick - Phone: 832-813-4399
PolyUsable™ Circular Recycling Process Converts Used Polystyrene Products Back into Their Original Liquid Form
Chevron Phillips Chemical’s joint venture, AmSty, recently formed a joint venture with Agilyx, a leading developer of recycling technologies for plastics, to operate a first-in-kind polystyrene recycling facility in Tigard, Oregon. The process converts used polystyrene products back into their original liquid form – styrene monomer. Fresh polystyrene products can then be made without degrading quality or value. This is a form of circular recycling known as the PolyUsable recycling process.
“Our company is committed to litter and waste reduction, particularly from polystyrene products that can be incorporated into the PolyUsableTM recycling process,” said Brad Crocker, President and CEO of AmSty. “At a time when bans on plastics and particularly polystyrene bans are being considered, we expect sustainability-sensitive applications like single use products will gravitate toward polystyrene in the future because it is currently the only plastic material suitable for the kind of truly circular recycling.”