Commerical Glycol Products
January 14, 2014
Glycols are an important family of chemicals that turn up in many products and industrial processes. Their different properties affect the profitability of industrial processes they are part of as well as environmental quality and ultimately, human health and safety.
Although it’s all too easy to get buried in the scientific details, we can keep things simple. To tell the glycol story intelligently, we need to connect the dots between science, engineering and business in four general areas:
|Basic chemistry, which dictates behavior of chemicals in manufacturing processes and the environment.|
|Uses, which determine the volume of chemicals produced and biodegradability of final products.|
|Processes, which determine the amounts and types of resources used to make glycols and the byproducts and effluent, which someone, somewhere must eventually deal with.|
Behavior in environment, which includes transportation (the distance and ways that chemicals get moved from producer to user companies) and when released into the environment, their effects on the biosphere and human health and safety.
When we use this four-part lens to examine glycol production, distribution and use, the picture gets very interesting. Here are profiles of the glycols and raw materials that make them.
Profile: Ethylene oxide
Ethylene oxide isn’t a glycol. It is the raw material used to create them.
PROCESS: Petrochemical-based oxidation.
BEHAVIOR IN ENVIRONMENT: Needs careful handling.
Profile: Mono-ethylene glycol
When you read about ethylene glycol in the press, mono-ethylene glycol is usually the subject. It is the most important of a family of chemical building blocks used in industrial chemistry throughout the world.
USES: Chemical intermediate, many uses.
PROCESS: Energy-intensive, petrochemical-based.
BEHAVIOR IN ENVIRONMENT: Transported widely, toxic when released.
Profile: Di-ethylene and tri-ethylene glycols
These glycols are related to mono-ethylene glycol. Often they are produced in the same chemical process as MEG.
USES: Chemical intermediates, many uses
PROCESS: Energy-intensive, petrochemical-based
BEHAVIOR IN ENVIRONMENT: Transported widely, not considered toxic when handled carefully
Profile: Propylene glycol
Although chemically related to other glycols, propylene glycol differs from them in how they are made, used and cleaned up.
USES: Many applications for human and industrial use
BEHAVIOR IN ENVIRONMENT: Transported widely, few health or safety risks when handled carefully.
We describe the health and safety risks that glycols pose in the environment and the resources needed to control them in a responsible manner.
The future can be cleaner.
At GlyEco, we believe providing information about chemistry-based pollution solutions is good for both the environment and your mind. Our team is dedicated to creating a future with less dirty glycol going to waste. It's a big job... and we are up to the challenge. Using our breakthrough technology, we clean all types of waste glycol, help safeguard the environment and create valuable green products.