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  • About
  • Production Process
  • Production Technologies
  • Capacity
  • Demand Supply
  • End Use Consumption

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 demand on the global butadiene market is indicating reasonable growth – it is also expected that it will move upwards by 2-2.5% annually in the coming 5-6 years. The butadiene markets in the developed countries are not considered as considerable contributors to the demand growth – the market has already reached its saturation point. However the developing BRIC countries make up the major driver behind the butadiene industry activity.

The global capacity of Butadiene was 12 MMT in 2011 against demand of 9 MMT. The capacity is expected to increase to 14 MMT in 2016 with demand reaching 12 MMT. In India total Butadiene capacity is expected to reach 528 KTA by 2016-17 and IOC has planned capacity expansion to 138 KTA by 2016-17 followed by OPAL 95 KTA

Up to 50% of the produced volume of butadiene is taken up by SBR and polybutadiene. These applications are forecast to lead the demand in the near future as they are both set to lavishly develop through 2017.

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 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     69 138 138 138
OPAL       95 95 95
Total 295 295 364 528 528 528
Source: Industry
Producer Butadiene: India Demand Supply
Actual Projected
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Capacity 295 295 364 528 528 528
Prod/Cons 266 264 333 497 497 497
Imports 2          
Exports 143 148 99 118 116 11
Consumption 114 116 234 379 381 486
Cons Growth (%)   1% 102% 62% 1% 27%

Source: Industry

Total Butadiene Consumption in 2011-12 124 Kt

Butadiene(kt) 2010-11 2011-12 % Share %
PBR 71 69 60% -2.6%
ABS 18 18 16% 0.0%
NBR 13 13 11% 0.0%
SBR 14 14 12% 0.0%
Butadiene 114 114   0.0%
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