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Image courtesy of Ken Doerr/Flickr.

San Francisco based startup Siluria Technologies has raised over $120 million after unveiling a process that turns shale gas into plastics and gasoline.

Siluria has attracted investment from major energy players including Saudi Aramco and Brazil-based Braskem to get its gas to plastics process ready for commercial production, Forbes said.

Earlier this month Siluria celebrated the successful start up of its La Porte, Texas demonstration plant that will produce ethylene directly from natural gas through the company’s oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) process.

Ethylene is a component found in a wide range of plastic products including water bottles and PVC pipes.

The ethylene produced through the OCM process can also be turned into gasoline, condensates, aromatics, heavy oil diluents, diesel and jet fuel.

The demonstration plant is designed to produce one ton of ethylene per day.

“The conversion of methane to ethylene using OCM has been a sought-after goal of the chemical industry for more than 30 years because of its promise to add value to natural gas resources and reduce the costs of chemical, plastics and fuels production,” Siluria said.

 

An illustration of Siluria’s OCM process.

 

 

While major oil firms like ExxonMobil and ChevronPhillips are also breaking into the ethylene game with billion dollar ethane crackers Siluria said its technique will prove to be more cost effective than rival processes.

The OCM process would yield the same amount of energy found in one barrel of oil for just $20, according to Forbes.

“We are well positioned with our commercial and engineering partners to now move quickly to full commercialization of our proprietary technologies,” Siluria CEO Ed Dineen told Natural Gas Intelligence.

The company is planning to bring a commercial scale OCM plant online  sometime between 2017 and 2018.