Demystifying Ethane + Let’s Go on a Trip to Saturn

SaturnSay it ain’t so. Ethane can be found on Titan–one of Saturn’s moons?! Now how did those nasty, evil frackers already get their claws into Titan? Don’t the Titanians know that faffing about with ethane and methane and all of those “anes” will cause global warming?

We are, tongue-in-cheek, introducing a serious bit of information. In very basic terms ethane–an NGL coming from the ground along with methane–is “cracked” in huge petrochemical plants (“crackers”) to produce ethylene, which is converted into plastic like polyethylene. We’ve been writing a lot about the (now) three cracker plants in various stages of planning for the northeast that will use ethane from Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling (see Thailand & Japan Partner to Build 3rd Big Marcellus Ethane Cracker). We spotted what we consider a really good description of ethane and the cracking process that goes a little beyond the mere basics. We found it enlightening and thought you would too:

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