New Analysis: Technology and Costs Low Density Polyethylene
NexantECA, the Energy and Chemicals Advisory company publishes a new report on Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Low density polyethylene (LDPE) is one of a number of polyolefins that are commodity plastics, which are used globally in a wide range of market segments including packaging, consumer, agriculture, and general industrial. LDPE is produced from ethylene, while ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), LDPE’s largest copolymer, is produced from ethylene and vinyl acetate as the comonomer.
LDPE has been the slowest growing polyethylene due to substitution by LLDPE. However, LDPE still maintains significant market share due to product capability and economics.
This TECH report provides an updated overview of the technological, economic, and market aspects for LDPE, including homopolymer and EVA copolymers. The following issues are addressed in this report:
- What are the major technologies for LDPE production and how do they differ?
- How do the process economics compare across processes and different geographic regions?
- Who are the top 10 producers of LDPE and will this change over the next five years?
- What is the current market environment for LDPE? How does its growth compare with other polyolefins? Where will new capacity be added?
There are two basic processes used for the manufacture of LDPE – autoclave and tubular. Both can be used to produce LDPE copolymers, including EVA. The technologies are very mature, with licensors focusing on cost reduction, including increased plant scale, and product enhancement to differentiate their technologies.
Tubular technologies from ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell, SABIC, and Versalis, and autoclave technologies from ECI Group (Simon Carves)/Repsol, ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell, and Versalis are described and analyzed, with a focus on recent developments. A list of licensees is included for each technology.
Detailed cost of production estimates for tubular and autoclave processes are presented for United States Gulf Coast (USGC), coastal China, and Middle East locations using market-priced ethylene. For tubular processes, estimates are developed for LDPE and EVA (18% VA), while for autoclave processes, estimates are developed for LDPE and EVA (18% VA and 28% VA). In each region, the technology (tubular versus autoclave) employed affected the relative cost of production.
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