December 28, 2010

Celanese interview: Sustainability of coal

In a previous post about Celanese's new coal-to-ethanol project in China, the blog questioned the "greenness" of ethanol production using coal as feedstock. I was able to talk to Steven Sterin, senior VP and CFO of Celanese a day earlier from their conference call on December 16.

First of all, Sterin did agree that there is a stigma especially in the United States about the use of coal as energy feedstock. In China, however, the use of coal makes perfect sense given that 1) It is plentiful as feedstock for both chemicals and fuel production, 2) China does not have enough land available for food much less use it to plant crops for industrial purposes, 3) China is short on gasoline and petroleum oil supply, and therefore using coal as energy source and be less dependent on foreign sources makes sense for its government.

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