View Full Version : Stop making cars and stop making drugs

01-19-2009, 05:10 AM
My wife is a QC director for a pharmaceutical company. She tipped me off today on this little piece of news. This ought to be a Rippley's Believe it or Not.

http://isgreaterthan.net/2009/01/unexpected-consequences/ :eek:

01-19-2009, 11:03 AM
A good article. Hundreds of products are derived from crude. If those by products were not derived in the process, gasoline prices would be much higher. Most of the politicians (especiallly liberals) do not have a clue. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pisslosi, stated "we need more renewable energy like natural gas." No wonder we have a f. up energy policy with idiots like her. Most of these mindless critters have taken junkets to every continent on the globe. I bet very few have been on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

01-19-2009, 11:26 AM
I'm going say, "yes and no" on the assertions made in this article. It's a tad alarmist. While it's certainly true that zillions of products are made from petroleum or petroleum byproducts, it's not necessarily true that these compounds can't be derived in different ways or that suitable substitutes can't be found.

While a lot of cheap chemicals come out of China now, we were using those same compounds long before the heathen Chinese began wholesale exporting. Acetonitrile is a case in point. This solvent used to be made in the U.S. It's a really, really good solvent and it's convenient that it's production dovetails nicely with the manufacture of compounds used widely in plastics but it can be made using other production methods. Those methods just aren't commercially useful at the moment. If plastics production stopped, those other methods would become commercially useful.

It's hard to remember but there was a time when petroleum products were a novelty and not a necessity. I'm not yearning to return to that time but it's a mistake to think that materials science has ground to halt and that petroleum products are the pinnacle of achievement in this area. They are just cheap and abundant at the moment. ;)

01-19-2009, 12:00 PM
As someone who cares for the environment, at times there is a bit of schadenfreude involved when I hear news that petroleum is running out.

I knew she had to have something to do with it! :D

01-19-2009, 07:50 PM
I think the point is being missed here. Petroleum isn't really part of the equation. Acertonitrile is a by-product of one of the plastics used in making a car bumper. The big 3 are having some of their worst times right now. Gas is off it's high by 60-70% but folks still aren't buying cars. Toyota has had a sales decline for the first time, I believe. Regardless of the price of a gallon of gas, if cars aren't being bought, bumpers aren't being made and this critical component is not derived. This chemical is used in liquid chromatography and it's absence is a major concern for the pharmaceutical industry.

My wife didn't point me to this article. I did a Google search to find more information on my own. She just alerted me to the fact that a critical component was quickly becoming unavailable worldwide and it's connection to car bumpers.