The petrochemical industry is wide and large. It’s involved in most industries in our economies. Petrochemicals are essential in producing most of our daily commodities, including agricultural and nutritional goods. They are defined as chemical compounds created from natural gases and petroleum (crude oil) extraction.
Petrochemicals play a pivotal role in key processes in the agricultural industry. The importance of this chemical affects daily consumption and is relied on by economies globally as they’re a cost-effective solution to mass production. Let us look closely at petrochemical products used in the agricultural industry.
What are the main products of the petrochemical industry?
Petrochemicals are used to make a plethora of everyday items. Plastics, rubber, resins, synthetic fibers, adhesives, dyes, detergents, pesticides, and petroleum-derived paints and coatings are examples of petrochemical products.
From oil and natural gas as raw materials to feedstocks, basic chemicals, chemical intermediates (derivatives), and final products are produced. There are 6 main petrochemical derivatives with the three most frequently used being ethylene, propylene, and benzene.
Numerous petrochemicals have well-known trade names and are used in a variety of consumer and industrial products:
- Plexiglas, as an alternative to glass, is frequently used in aquariums, household appliances, automobiles, and airplanes.
- Teflon is utilized in non-stick pans as well as chemical-proof pipes, medical injection tubes, and microelectronics. Teflon-treated polymer Gore-Tex is used in hiking boots and mountain coats as a breathable and waterproof fabric.
- Kevlar is a synthetic fiber that does not rust or corrode and is five times stronger than steel. Parachutes, bulletproof vests, and composite materials used in boats and aircraft all contain Kevlar.
- Nylon was initially a silk-like substitute and can now be found in bridal veils, guitar strings, ropes, stockings, and parachutes.
At home, petrochemicals are also found in processed food, home office equipment, kitchen utensils and appliances, bathroom products (toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant), living room furniture (carpets, curtains, lamps), and bedroom products (shoes, linen, clothing).
How is petroleum used in agriculture?
Petroleum is a fossil fuel that can be found beneath the surface of the Earth in geological formations. Petroleum, which is found in nature, is a yellow-to-black liquid refined into various fuels. I include refined crude oil, unprocessed crude oil, and petroleum products. Unrefined petroleum, flammable gas plant fluids, melted treatment facility gases, and refined oil-based goods like fuel diesel are all incorporated into petroleum.
Agriculture is one of the industries using petroleum the most. In this sector, petroleum is used to make ammonia, used in agricultural fertilizers as a nitrogen source. Pesticides are widely used in agriculture to boost crop yields. Petroleum is used to make most pesticides used in the industry.
What foods have petrochemicals in them?
The majority of the food in your refrigerator will contain some petrochemicals. This is due to the fact that the plants absorb the fertilizers that are sprayed on crops. Petrochemicals are also used to make the wax coatings on many fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, potatoes, and bell peppers. Petrochemicals are also the source of food coloring, so foods with artificial pigments will contain them.
Petrochemical products used in the agriculture industry.
Petrochemical-made chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides are heavily used in agriculture. Fertilizers are substances added to soil to improve plants’ growth and yield. Some of their components include natural gases and nitrogen, and phosphorus. The use of fertilizers is significantly important in providing the quality and quantity of the food we eat today.
Researchers are looking for ways to feed a growing world population as it continues to increase and the arable land for crop production decreases.
One high-tech solution revolutionizing access to nutrition and offering hope for the future is hydroponic farming, which grows plants without soil and with little water. This type of farming is made conceivable by utilizing cutting-edge, designed plastics empowered by petrochemicals.
In a restricted ecosystem, limited water-rich nutrients directly contact exposed plant roots. These ecosystems have regulated temperatures and operate year-round, which allows fresh produce to bloom any time of the year with no eternal weather restrictions.
This type of farming uses petrochemicals to make a type of plastic using butadiene. Butadiene is a petrochemical derivative used to make UV-Stable Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene terpolymer, also known as ABS plastic, used in building hydroponic growing systems. This type of plastic is used because of its lightweight, durability, and anti-corrosiveness.
According to a Future Market Insights analysis, the hydroponics market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 7% during the forecast period. In 2023, it is anticipated that the hydroponics industry will be worth $2.78 billion US. By 2033, FMI guessed that the tank-farming business sector could increment to $5.70 billion.
What is the difference between a fuel and a petrochemical in agriculture?
Fuels include liquified petroleum gas, kerosene, diesel, gasoline, and jet fuels. Petrochemicals, however, are derived from hydrocarbons like propane, ethane, butane, and other components separated from crude oil and natural gas liquids.
In agriculture, fuels are used to power heavy machinery, process foods, refrigerate foods during transportation, produce packaging materials, and manufacture and transport fertilizers and pesticides. In comparison, petrochemicals are used in farming, preserving food, and producing fertilizers for traditional agriculture.
What is beneficiation in agriculture?
Generally, beneficiation is the process where gangue minerals are removed from ore to increase the value of a material. This procedure can involve physical or chemical processes. Companies like Anchorage Investments operate in related fields to beneficiation, such as mining.
This value-added process in agriculture looks at the production or manufacturing methods, marketing, or services that can increase the value of primary agricultural commodities, possibly by increasing their appeal to customers and their willingness to pay a premium price. Most of the time, a value-added addition is a good investment because it makes it possible to enter a new, potentially high-value market, extends the production season, and creates a brand identity or brand loyalty for agricultural companies.
In closing, a large part of the agricultural industry is driven by petrochemicals. From the production of fertilizers from petrochemical derivatives to innovations in farming, petrochemicals are the foundational product of these methods that allow providing supply for a growing agricultural demand.
Distinctively, petrochemicals are made with fuels like petroleum gas and natural gases. However, in agriculture, fuels and petrochemicals serve different purposes. In the agricultural process, products’ value is increased thanks to the operation of beneficiation that contribute to the appeal of these products.