Author: Giulio Ballabio
The Ferrara factory represents Italy's first outstanding achievement in chemical production from petroleum and natural gas. Construction of the new plants began in 1950, and many are already in operation, while others are under construction or are being planned along lines well abreast of the rapid improvements and developments in this industry. The most important plants already in operation are those for polyethylene (capacity 8,000 tons per year); polystyrene (capacity 8,000 tons per year), isopropyl, butyl and isobutyl alcohol; acetone, dichloroethane, dibromoethane and ethyl chloride; plasticizers (phthalates) for polyvinyl chloride and terylene. The crude arrives from the port terminai of Porto Marghera (Venice) by waterway. The distillates are processed by cracking to produce highly pure ethylene, propylene and butylene. Natural gas from the Po valley wells is the raw material for production of ammonia, which is converted into ammonium nitrate and urea.