23 May 2012 21:44 [Source: ICIS news]
“We think this is a tremendous opportunity for both Celanese as well as the entire methanol industry,” said Steven Sterin, Celanese’s chief finanical officer and president of its Advanced Fuel Technologies unit, speaking at the Goldman Sachs Basic Materials Conference in New York.
Sterin said Celanese sees two uses for the ethanol to be made from its TCX technology.
One would be industrial ethanol, used as solvent in hand cleaners.
But the other and much larger use for it would be in fuel ethanol to power cars and trucks, especially in countries such as China, where Celanese already has received government approval to build a TCX plant.
Sterin said making fuel ethanol with Celanese’s technology would be a notable achievement for the methanol industry as well.
“Both of us can get our products into the fuel pool, which is what the chemical industry has been trying to do for many years,” Sterin said.
Sterin added that the low price of natural gas in the US is a great advantage for Celanese in the near future, though he doubted that current prices in the $2-$3 (€1.6-2.3)/MMBtu range would last much longer.
However, Sterin said the consensus in the chemical industry seems to be that US natural gas prices will stay below $5 for the next few years.
“I certainly wouldn’t count on $2/MMBtu gas,” Sterin said. “Our model doesn’t count on it. It counts more on a long-term value for gas in the $5 range.”
($1 = €0.79)
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