Example – gaseous chlorine for PVC production

Generic product activity or name
Gaseous chlorine


Context and background
The chlor-alkali industry uses brine (salt water) to produce chlorine, hydrogen and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or caustic soda (see also our example on the Chlor-alkali process). The gaseous chlorine may be used on site or transferred by pipeline or liquefied to enable transport (Kent 2013). In this example we only discuss the gaseous fraction, which due to it volatility and high toxicity is preferably used locally.

Presentation of example
Approximately 35% of Europe’s Chlorine production is used for the production of PVC (Patrick 2005). The bulk of world production of PVC is currently manufactured using the chemical compound ethylene in combination with chlorine to produce EDC (ethylene dichloride or 1,2-dichloroethane). EDC is used to make vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and subsequently used to manufacture polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

The chlor-alkali (caustic soda) industry is often located together in petrochemical complexes together with the VCM and PVC plants that use the gaseous chlorine. In such cases the users of gaseous chlorine have a direct pipeline to the producers, which means that in the modelling we have identified a directly affected supplier instead of an average market.

Information sources used
The PVC chain is generally well described – the challenge here is to identify the locally specific ties between user and producer.

Kent J A (2013). Handbook of Industrial Chemistry and Biotechnology vol 1 and 2. Springer Science & Business Media. (https://books.google.dk/books?isbn=1461442591)

Patrick S (2005. Practical Guide to Polyvinyl Chloride. Smithers Rapra Publishing. (https://books.google.dk/books?isbn=1859575110)

Author of this example
Bo Weidema


How to reference this
Weidema B P (2014), Example –gaseous chlorine for PVC production. Version: 2015-08-25 www.consequential-lca.org