Pentane plus is a compound mixture of unsaturated hydrocarbons ranging from C5 to C8 compounds. It is produced from high-temperature cracking of petroleum fractions. Pentane plus is separated from pyrolysis gasoline (pygas) through distillation process at the time of benzene production and is aliphatic in nature. Cracking is a process that involves breaking down of hydrocarbon molecules into smaller molecules at very high temperatures. Further, separation is carried out by distillation process at a low temperature. Pentane Plus is a clear liquid and has a strong odor similar to that of gasoline. Pentane plus is highly volatility and does not mix easily with water. They are mostly used for blending gasoline and for other applications such as textiles. Pentane plus comprises normal pentane, iso-pentane, hexane-plus and plant condensates.
Pentane plus natural gas liquids are often used as additives for natural heavy crude to make it pipeable and to make the oil flow easier in pipes. Pentane Plus is also added to other oil mixes. In the Alberta region natural gas liquids of such groups are in high demand and are traded at a premium rate. According to Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S has the highest stocks of pentane plus. In the year 2012, the U.S exported around 6,000 barrels of pentane plus, of which Canada imported the highest quantity of pentane plus.
Segmentation of pentane plus is carried out on the basis of its octane rating. Octane rating is a standard measure of the fuel’s tendency to burn in a systematic manner, rather than exploding in an uneven manner. Higher the octane number better is the quantity of fuel. Fuels with higher octane rating are utilized in high performance petrol engines that require high compression ratios. On the contrary, lower octane number fuels are best suited for diesel engines as diesel engines do not compress the entire air fuel mixture but only compress air and then injects the fuel into the air which is heated up by compression. Petrol engines rely on ignition of fuel and air compressed together as a mixture without ignition. The mixture is then further ignited at the end of compression stroke by spark plug. Hence, high compressibility of the fuel is the major concern for petrol engines. Use of petrol with lower octane numbers may lead to the problem of engine knocking. Problem of engine knocking gets eliminated with higher octane rating fuels. Major constituents of pentane plus are pentane, hexane, heptane and octane.
Primarily, pentane is the major constituent of pentane plus followed by hexane (20%), heptane (20%), octane (5%) and benzene (5%). It has an aromaticity of around 10%.
Some of the key drivers of the pentane plus market are its use in industries and as a transportation fuel. However, high vapor explosion hazards associated with the manufacturing of pentane plus can hamper the market’s growth. Ample opportunities are there for pentane plus market as gasoline demand is increasing at a rapid rate owing to the large scale of development in the emerging economies.
Some of the key players in the business of pentane plus are The Dow Chemical Company, Petrochemical Commercial Company, Bandar Imam Petrochemical Company, Iran Petrochemical Commercial Company, GAIL India Ltd, Qatar Petrochemical Company, Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Company, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Boubyan Petrochemical Company and Exxon Mobil Chemical Company among others.
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