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From the food we prepare, the fertilizers that support various forms of agriculture and the cars we drive, every facet of our lives is influenced by the presence of chemicals. Because different chemicals require different raw material inputs plus different skills and specialized equipment to produce them, many chemical manufacturers focus their efforts into individual market segments. Examples of chemical companies include oil refiners, ethanol producers, agricultural chemical producers and companies that produce chemicals destined for human consumption.
Oil refineries produce a wide variety of chemicals by distilling crude oil. Crude oil is a complex molecular soup containing dozens of organic compounds. Refiners boil oil in a fractionating column until it vaporizes. As the vapors rise and begin to re-condense, they are collected at various levels within the column. Commonly known refinery chemicals include gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, propane and petroleum sludge, which is one of the primary raw materials used to manufacture plastics. A leading U.S. based oil refiner is Valero Energy Corporation.
Valero Energy Corp. One Valero Way San Antonio, TX 78249-1616 210-345-2000 valero.com
Agricultural chemical companies produce a variety of products, including liquid or granular fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Some of these products have unique formulations designed for application on specific plant types such as the turf grasses found on golf courses. Other blends may be safely applied to all food crops. An example of an agricultural chemical producer is Growers Fertilizer Corporation. The company produces a wide variety of fertilizers with several blends of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen being offered.
Growers Fertilizer Corporation 312 N. Buena Vista Drive Lake Alfred, FL 33850 800-343-1101 growersfertilizer.com
Since Congress mandated its use in automotive gasoline blends, numerous ethanol plants have been built to produce this fuel additive. Ethanol is generally distilled from corn. Many of these facilities have been constructed in the U.S. Midwest, commonly known as the "corn belt." Ethanol is identical in chemical composition to the alcohol found in vodka or gin, but is produced at a much higher lever of purity and also contains a denaturing agent. An example of an ethanol producer is Dakota Ethanol, LLC.
Dakota Ethanol, LLC P.O. Box 100 Wentworth, SD 57075 605-483-2679 dakotaethanol.com
Some domestic chemical companies produce compounds meant for human consumption. An excellent example is Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the manufacturer of Arm & Hammer baking soda. The proper chemical name for baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, and its chemical formula is NaHCO3. It is used in baking, as an ingredient in antacids and as a natural deodorizer.
Church & Dwight Co., Inc. 469 North Harrison Street Princeton, NJ 08540 800-236-4175 churchdwight.com
Rich Finzer earned his boating license in 1960 and started his writing career in 1969. His writing has appeared in "Northern Breezes," "Southwinds," "Living Aboard," "Good Old Boat," "Latitudes & Attitudes," "Small Craft Advisor," "Life in the Finger Lakes," "BackHome" and "Dollar Stretcher" magazines. His maple syrup has won awards in competition. Rich has a Bachelor of Science in communications from Ithaca College.