27 August 2010 07:09 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s Henan provincial government will soon release a set of standards on blending dimethyl ether (DME) into liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a source from the Henan Petrochemical Industry Association said on Friday.
“The standard is expected to be published within the next three months,” said the source, who added that in the meantime, each cylinder of LPG was only allowed to contain a maximum of 20% DME.
“The storage tanks used for DME-LPG blends should also be of a special kind – not the same as those used in daily civilian life,” said the source.
Reports have shown that DME could corrode the rubber sealants in LPG containers and lead to harmful gas leaks, the source said.
The publishing of standards by the Henan provincial government would also boost the DME and upstream methanol markets in that area, which were currently in a downtrend, the source added.
The crackdown by authorities on illegal blending have affected downstream demand and increased the costs of producers, said the source.
Domestic DME plants were currently operating at an average of 20% or less, said a source from the China Petroleum & Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF).
Meanwhile, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) was still working on a unified nation-wide standard of DME-LPG blending, said the source from CPCIF.
"That unified set of standards would then have individual guidelines for each province to follow,” she told ICIS.
Currently, only the provinces of Shandong, Guizhou and the city of Chongqing have issued local standards for DME-LPG blending, the CPCIF source added.
“If Henan releases their own set of standards, it would be the country’s fourth province in which producers can legally blend DME into LPG,” she said.
The Chinese government had earlier launched a probe into illegal DME blending with LPG, which was meant for civilian use.
DME-blending into LPG for industrial use was recently allowed as a means to cut cost and create a more environmentally-friendly energy product.
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