New Method Could Cheaply Convert Natural Gas to Chemicals• Technologyreview.com
High-performance ceramic membranes from the R&D company Ceramatec could lead to a cheaper way to convert natural gas into benzene, a liquid that can be used to make a wide variety of chemicals and serve as a component of gasoline.
If the approach works, it would open up large new markets for natural gas. It could also reduce the practice of flaring natural gas, which wastes about 140 billion cubic meters of gas each year worldwide, or the equivalent of about 20 percent of the annual demand in the United States. Oil wells in remote areas often use flaring because transporting the natural gas to market would be too expensive.