The Conversation

Oil companies are ploughing money into fossil-fuelled plastics production at a record rate – new research

Visiting a modern petrochemical plant makes you feel incredibly small. Enormous compressors roar incessantly, distillation columns tower high above your head, large pipelines full of oil and gas criss-cross the site. Heat radiates from inspection hatches in the furnaces in which the hydrocarbons are heated to 850°C to make the molecules crack. It’s easy to get lost in alleys of ducts and pipes, which to an untrained eye, all look the same.

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