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Butadiene is a flammable, colorless gas with a mild aromatic odor and it is highly reactive. It’s physical Description - Colorless gas that has a mild gasoline-like odor. Its molecular weight 54.1 Boiling/Melting Point 24ºF / -164ºF. Butadiene is soluble in alcohol and ether, insoluble in water and polymerizes readily, particularly if oxygen is present.

One major use of butadiene has been in the making of synthetic rubber (styrene-butadiene and nitrile butadiene rubbers, to a large extent, CIS-polybutadiene is also an extender and substitute for rubber, and polymerizations transpolybutadiene is a type of rubber with unusual properties). Butadiene is also used extensively for various polymerizations for plastics manufacturing.

1,3-Butadiene was discovered in the nineteenth century and its use in the development of rubber-like polymers was explored during the early 1900s (Grub and Loser 2005; Sun and Wristers 2002). Large volume production of 1,3-butadiene in the United States began during World War II. The Russian chemist Sergei Vasilyevich Lebedev was the first to polymerize butadiene in 1910.[19][20] In 1926 he invented a process for manufacturing butadiene from ethanol, and in 1928, developed a method for producing polybutadiene using sodium as a catalyst.

There are two sources of butadiene in world: Extractive distillation from Crude C4 stream produced as a co-product of ethylene production, and “on-purpose” production by dehydrogenation o n-Butane or n-Butenes. Leading licensors of technology for Butadiene are Shell, BASF and Nippon-Zeon.

BASF, Borealis, Equistar Chemical, ExxonMobil, Ineous, Polimeri Europa, Reliance Industries, Repsol YPF, Sabic, Shanghai Petrochemical, Shell, Sinopec are the leading producers of Butadiene.

The Global Butadiene capacity is projected at 14.9 MMT for 2016 against 14.7 MMT in 2015, while the demand is pegged at 10.9 MMT in 2016 against 10.7 MMT in 2015.

In India the capacity is projected at 493 KTA in 2016-17 due to enhanced Butadiene capacities on account of OPAL having commissioned its mega petrochemical complex at Dahej, while the demand is estimated to be 386 KTA in 2016-17.

Global butadiene demand is dominated by the production of synthetic rubber. Production of the two major commodity types of synthetic rubber, namely polybutadiene rubber (PBR) and styrene butadiene rubber (eSBR and sSBR), presently accounts for nearly 60% of global butadiene demand.

Other large consumption segments include ABS, SB Latex, and adiponitrile (a nylon 6,6 feedstock). The largest components of the other category include nitrile rubber, polychloroprene, and thermoplastic elastomers.

Northeast Asia today dominates these rubber markets with nearly 50% of the global output. The region’s share will remain around 50% through 2025; however, the distribution will change with China’s share growing. This means the combination of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan will lose some market share.

Butadiene is used to manufacture rubber for tires, hoses, gaskets, paints and adhesives. It is also used in the production of nylon clothing, carpets and engineering plastic parts.

Extractive Distillation:

Extractive distillation technology is highly developed and has been improved over the years to employ new, or more effective solvents which minimize utility requirements and lower capital costs.

BASF butadiene extraction technology was first commercialized in 1968. Since 1990, Lurgi and ABB Lummus have been in the position to license the BASF NMP butadiene extraction process.

Butadiene production via dehydrogenation:

The catalytic dehydrogenation of n-Butane is two step process. It starts with the conversion of n-Butane to n-Butenes and then on to butadiene. Both steps are endothermic, and the heat of reaction is supplied by mixing the feedstock with superheated steam or indirectly by cyclical operation of the reactors.

The Nippon-Zeon process is a two stage process using dimethylforamide (DMF) as the solvent. Feedstock for the process is normally the C4 fraction from an ethylene steam cracker.

Shell Process is similar to Nippon-Zeon and BASF processes. The primary difference in Shell process is that it uses Acrylonitrile (ACN) as the solvent. Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) licensed this process.


Actual Actual Actual Actual Actual Projected
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
RIL 200 200 200 200 200 200
Haldia 95 95 95 95 95 95
IOC       140 140 140
OPAL       0 0 58
Total 295 295 295 435 435 493
Source: Industry
Butadiene: India Demand Supply
Actual Actual Actual ActualActual Projected
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Capacity 295 295 295 435 435 493
Production 262 223 226 229 318 482
Dom Sales 114 111 120 172 235 380
Imports 0 2 0 0 6 6
Exports 143 113 108 46 79 96
Consumption 114 113 120 172 241 386
Source: Industry

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