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Breakthrough of upgrading coal-based new materials into coal chemical industry

Date: 2019-03-18
Browse times: 5

'For the coal chemical industry, new materials can be an important direction of refined development. Which materials are currently in short supply, and which products are the core, companies may wish to conduct research.' Recently in a coal chemical industry closed meeting On the other hand, Shao Yong, director of the Industry Coordination Department of the National Development and Reform Commission, has made such a move.

Coincidentally, on the '2018 China International Coal Chemical Development Forum' held the next day, 'new materials' were repeatedly mentioned. “In the ‘pyramid’ of the chemical industry, higher-end products are coal-based new materials, and the higher the downstream, the higher the profitability,” said Liu Yanwei, deputy chief engineer of the Petroleum and Chemical Industry Planning Institute.

'Functional new materials must be the next breakthrough for the coal chemical industry to enhance its technological competitiveness. What is currently lacking is to plan ahead according to the characteristics of coal resources and bring promising laboratory results to industrial applications.' School of Chemical Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology Dean Qiu Jieshan also told reporters.

Many experts have expressed similar views on different occasions, and the recognition of new coal-based materials in the industry is not even hot. The reporter further learned that under the impact of homogenous hidden dangers and overcapacity, the coal chemical industry is eager to find a way out, which has attracted much attention as a new coal-based material in the emerging segment. From coal to advanced, cutting-edge materials, does this direction work?

Promising prospects

Coal-based new materials are affirmed

From 'big dry fast' to 'prone to rationality', the coal chemical industry has arrived at the time when it has to 'step on the brakes.'

“Compared with the petrochemical industry that has been crawling for more than ten years, coal chemical industry is more like a 'primary school' as a new entrant. At the same time, many foreign chemical giants are also deploying projects in China, and they also have many years of experience. There are model soldiers, and there are pursuers, how much market space is left for coal chemical industry?' Including Liu Yanwei, many industry insiders bluntly faced multiple tests of product homogenization, overcapacity, and increased external competition. Chemicals need to explore product upgrades.

Upgrade the fait accompli, why is the upgrade direction a 'new material'? Liu Yanwei said that China's coal chemical industry has experienced upgrading from high-grade chemicals such as ammonia, urea and other basic chemicals to coal-to-olefins and ethylene glycol. The next step is to continue. Upgrade, 'can not look at coal chemical industry from the perspective of coal chemical industry.' Standing on the chemical “pyramid”, the more high-end products are coal-based new materials.

In this regard, Yang Dongyuan, deputy director of the Xi'an Institute of Clean Technology, who extended the Dahua Institute, agreed. “Products that use coal as a raw material and energy to convert into a carrier can be classified as a coal chemical industry. After a large amount of cheap coal-based chemicals, how to break through the low cost and convert the basic raw materials into high-addition Value, high-tech products? If it is made of coal-based oil and gas, methanol, olefins, etc., I believe that it has not yet jumped out of the old road of fuel products and chemicals. To obtain new ideas, new types and environmentally friendly products, coal-based new products Materials are a key direction for the next 20 years or so.'

At the same time, the new materials themselves are also in line with national strategic requirements. Shao Wei pointed out that as the key research direction in the next three years, China's new materials industry still faces the problem of “card neck” such as short technology and backward equipment. If the coal chemical industry can combine its own advantages, it will produce several core and most prominent products. The material products will occupy a place in the competition in the future. “In particular, the “New Materials Industry Development Guide” has been issued, which can provide a reference for the fine development of the coal chemical industry.”

Have raw material advantages

Explore multiple products

So, what new materials can coal be converted into? Is coal-based new materials competitive compared to other methods?

In the opinion of many experts, China's coal-based resource endowment has first laid a rich and affordable material base for the preparation of functional materials, which is an advantage that other resources cannot match. 'China has a large variety of coal, and its structure and chemical composition are rich and varied. In theory, all coal can be used to prepare functional materials. The key is to adopt the best process technology, design and design according to the structure and composition of coal. Production of functional materials with novel structure and unique performance, expanding its best application areas.' Qiu Jieshan said.

The reporter learned that at present in the field of coal-to-olefins, some enterprises have taken the lead in exploring polyolefin materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene, which can be used for the production of common packaging materials, wires and cables. The main direction of the next step is to improve the optimization of existing materials, and to explore new areas such as coal-made graphene, carbon materials and nano-materials through technological innovation.

For the former direction, Yang Dongyuan pointed out that “environmentally friendly” new materials are one of the hot spots worthy of attention. “Although the ‘head’ is black, coal-based products can achieve pollution-free.” Yang Dongyuan said that many existing plastic products can not really achieve degradation, even if it is called food grade, it is difficult to avoid micro-plastic residues and other hazards. Through related technologies, it has been realized to convert coal processing into a biodegradable and performance-compliant new plastic product. “This kind of material is finally decomposed into carbon dioxide and water, which is equivalent to coal coming back from nature and returning to nature. Some enterprises are laying out projects. If they can scale production, it will be an effective expansion of the coal chemical industry chain.”

Taking the rapid development of electric vehicles as an example, Qiu Jieshan said that in many energy storage devices such as power batteries and supercapacitors, functional carbon materials have different degrees of application, and their functions are irreplaceable. “Because of various constraints, some high-performance materials still rely on imports. From the technical level, the research level of our coal-based carbon materials is actually in the forefront of the world, and some work even leads a new development direction. Although the existing coal-based functional materials technology There are many small-scale possibilities exploration stages, and they have not yet entered the road of large-scale application, but the broad prospects are worthy of expectation.'

R & D is more difficult

Can't simply stay in 'selling raw materials'

There are quite a few positive voices. Many people in the industry have also admitted to the reporter that China's coal-based new materials industry is still in the primary stage of development. If enterprises want to really take a slice of it, there is still a long way to go.

The further development of “deep processing” means that the development, application and promotion are more difficult, which is the first challenge facing the industry. “It is necessary to make materials, materials and environmentally friendly. This is the key to transformation. However, many coal chemical companies have long stayed on 'selling raw materials', and they are not very concerned about technology development and market cultivation. It is also difficult to achieve new extensions.” Yang Dongyuan admits that under the vicious circle, the new materials originally converted from coal have lost their power, and then it is difficult to have a market, but it has also affected the enthusiasm of enterprise expansion projects.

There are also problems with 'people.' Liu Yanwei pointed out that especially in the relatively remote and poorly-developed western regions, even if enterprises can buy technology and equipment, it is more difficult to recruit people who can play these technologies. To develop a more high-end materials industry, the issue of talent is worthy of attention.

Shao Yong also saw the constraints. “Because chemical companies do not have the advantages of raw materials, they are currently doing a good job in coal chemical industry. Fortunately, these enterprises used to dig coal in the past, and they did not know much about the chemical industry and downstream materials. Some of the technical content links are precisely reflected in the chemical industry, and this short board needs to be completed.'

Although the new materials are good, companies should avoid falling into the 'excessive, repetitive' cycle. From the perspective of market capacity, the more high-end new materials are more niche; on the economic scale, coal-based new materials cannot completely replace traditional coal chemical industry. “Small people don’t mean not making money, but new high-value-added materials are not suitable for everyone. Companies need to combine resources allocation, market prospects, etc., to decide whether to do it, how to do it, who to work with, and which one to do. Class.' Qiu Jieshan reminded.

“There is no need for coal to make all the materials. Some of the products are more economical, or the products containing similar synthetic units in coal are suitable for conversion from coal; some materials can be cracked from petroleum, so it is not necessary. Not through coal processing.' Yang Dongyuan said.

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