Uses and Properties
Lower olefins are petrochemical derivatives produced by cracking feedstocks from raw materials such as natural gas and crude oil.
The main olefin products are ethylene, propylene, butadiene and C4 derivatives. These petrochemical derivatives are used to produce plastics, as chemical intermediates, and, in some cases, as industrial solvents. LOSG represents the interests of companies operating petrochemical crackers in Europe.
The Lower Olefins Sector Group (LOSG) brings together the European manufacturers of lower olefins.
Issues and Regulations
The LOA (Lower Olefins Aromatics) Consortium was formed, through which manufacturers have joined efforts to prepare by 30 November 2010 consistent registration dossiers covering 130 to 140 substances within 20 categories.
Ensure that the competitiveness of the petrochemical crackers in Europe is not adversely impacted by the Emissions Trading Scheme.
- The toxicology group has a multi-annual science programme dealing with fundamental research into lower olefins and their derivatives. Most of these studies are shared with other Cefic sector groups (Ethylene oxide, Propylene oxide) and with American Chemistry Council (ACC) panels.
- Work with the IPPC Bureau on its updating of the large volume organic organic chemicals Best Available Technique Reference document; in particular the chapter dealing with lower olefins. The EEPC BREF LVOC Issue Group has developed a background document listing proposals for BAT and BAT-AEL conclusions for the LVOC BREF. These positions focus on a number of issues judged critical for the sector.
- The European Ethylene Producers Committee (EEPC) is dealing with health, safety and environmental issues related to manufacturing and handling of ethylene. The committee is composed of two-thirds ethylene producers and one-third engineering companies. It provides a forum for the communication of non-confidential information and non-confidential expertise concerning the manufacture and handling of ethylene.
- EEPC organises a yearly HSE conference. The 2019 EEPC conference will take place in Athens from 23 to 25 October. The 2020 EEPC conference was held virtually from 21 to 23 October. The event revolved around the EU Green Deal and its impact on ethylene crackers.
EEPC also organizes a yearly workshop. The topics that have been addressed in the past are : Corrosion under Insulation (2016), Turbomachinery (2017), Innovations safety and quality in Turnarounds (2018), Safety Culture (2019). In 2020, the workshop focused on furnace asset management and took place in Amsterdam on 26-27 February 2020. A workshop on hydrogenation reactors will be organised on 2-4 March 2021
- Since 2018, EEPC has also started to organize webinars for its members, with two highly attended webinars in 2020 on guidance document of EEPC on how to prevent butadiene popcorn formation in steamcrackers and butadiene units. In 2020, webinars are planned on how to safely organize a turnaround during a pandemic such as Covid and on a flare tutorial.
- The LOSG members have adopted guidelines on the standardization of couplings for the transport of butadiene by railcars in order to ensure safety. Butadiene is a well-known carcinogen with a binding EU Occupational exposure limit of 1ppm and as such must be handled with particular care. LOSG members have now committed to eliminate flange couplings for transporting butadiene by the end of 2025 as it can result in leakages when not used properly. They strongly encourage other producers and consumers of butadiene to do the same.
- Assessing DCPD as a potential endocrine disruptorDicyclopentadiene (DCPD; CAS No. 77-73-6), is an olefinic hydrocarbon with the formula C10H12. It is manufactured and/or imported into the EU at >1,000 tonnes per year and used as an intermediate in the manufacturing of chemicals and polymers.
DCPD is currently under review in the European Union as part of an ongoing European Chemical Agency (ECHA) Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) procedure linked to its REACH registration (France, 2015). The substance was also evaluated as part of the French National Strategy on Endocrine Disruptors (SNPE, 2014), whereby recently published information suggests that the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) is not considering the substance as a potential endocrine disruptor (ED).
The concern for both reviews is about the potential developmental and reproductive toxicity of DCPD in connection with a related endocrine mediated mode of action. Under the European Classification and Labelling Regulation (CLP), DCPD does not have a harmonized classification for reproductive toxicity. However, based on fetotoxicity observed in prenatal developmental toxicity studies, the members of the Lower Olefins and Aromatics (LOA) REACH consortium decided to self-classify the substance as a Category 2 (suspected human) reproductive toxicant under CLP.
In this context, the Cefic Lower Olefins Sector Group (LOSG) Toxicology working group formed an ad hoc expert group to evaluate available toxicological and mechanistic information on DCPD, in view of establishing or excluding an ED-related mechanism for the observed developmental effects.
The expert group reviewed the available scientific information pertaining to the potential endocrine activity and adversity of DCPD and the existing experimental data was complemented with structure activity modelling using ECHA-recommended (Q)SAR tools. Overall, considering the available information from (Q)SAR, mechanistic in vitro and in vivo studies, no indication of endocrine-mediated adversity was found. Hence, the available evidence supports the conclusion that DCPD does not cause developmental toxicity via an endocrine mode of action. This work is published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The full open-access article can be found via this link.
Chairman: Sameh Attalah, Dow
Danielle Franke, Shell
Peter Franssen, LyondellBasell