Figures 5 An aerial view of Bukum Refinery, just off the shore of Singapore. By kind permission of Shell International Ltd. By kind permission of BP. Similarly, there are refineries on the coast of mainland Europe, for example near Antwerp Belgium and Rotterdam Netherlands.
History[ edit ] Although chemicals were made and used throughout history, the birth of the heavy chemical industry production of chemicals in large quantities for a variety of uses coincided with the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in general.
Industrial Revolution[ edit ] One of the first chemicals to be produced in large amounts through industrial processes was sulfuric acid. Inthe pharmacist Joshua Ward developed a process for its production that involved heating saltpeter, allowing the sulfur to oxidize and combine with water.
It was the first practical production of sulphuric acid on a large scale. John Roebuck and Samuel Garbett were the first to establish a large-scale factory in Prestonpans, Scotlandinwhich used leaden condensing chambers for the manufacture of sulfuric acid. Rollox Chemical Works inthen Chemical industry biggest chemical enterprise in the world.
In the early 18th centurycloth was bleached by treating it with stale urine or sour milk and exposing it to sunlight for long periods of time, which created a severe bottleneck in production.
Sulfuric acid began to be used as a more efficient agent as well as lime by the middle of the century, but it was the discovery of bleaching powder by Charles Tennant that spurred the creation of the first great chemical industrial enterprise. His powder was made by reacting chlorine with dry slaked lime and proved to be a cheap and successful product.
He opened a factory in St Rolloxnorth of Glasgowand production went from just 52 tons in to almost 10, tons just five years later. By the 18th century, this source was becoming uneconomical due to deforestation, and the French Academy of Sciences offered a prize of livres for a method to produce alkali from sea salt sodium chloride.
When these tariffs were repealed, the British soda industry was able to rapidly expand. By the s, the British soda output oftons annually exceeded that of all other nations in the world combined. Ernest Solvaypatented an improved industrial method for the manufacture of soda ash.
These huge factories began to produce a greater diversity of chemicals as the Industrial Revolution matured. Originally, large quantities of alkaline waste were vented into the environment from the production of soda, provoking one of the first pieces of environmental legislation to be passed in This provided for close inspection of the factories and imposed heavy fines on those exceeding the limits on pollution.
Methods were soon devised to make useful byproducts from the alkali. The Solvay process was developed by the Belgian industrial chemist Ernest Solvay in InSolvay and his brother Alfred constructed a plant in the Belgian town of Charleroi and inthey expanded into a larger plant in NancyFrance.
The new process proved more economical and less polluting than the Leblanc method, and its use spread. Mond was instrumental in making the Solvay process a commercial success; he made several refinements between and that removed byproducts that could slow or halt the mass production of sodium carbonate through use of the process.
Expansion and maturation[ edit ] The late 19th century saw an explosion in both the quantity of production and the variety of chemicals that were manufactured.Introduction. The chemical industry creates an immense variety of products which impinge on virtually every aspect of our lives.
Figure 1 The chemical industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries in all developed and emerging. UK and EU chemical industry stress the importance of an agreed Brexit. Brussels, 15 November - The chemical industry in the UK and EU have welcomed an agreed text on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and a future trading relationship.
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