Acetylene: Production and Use
Acetylene as Industrial Raw Material
At the time of coal chemistry, when petroleum as source of the raw materials ethylene, propylene, butadiene, and other alkenes was not available, acetylene was the most important C2 building block of the chemical industry. Addition reactions to one of the π bonds of acetylene yield valuable alkene monomers. Furthermore, because of its high energy content, acetylene can be used for storing and transporting energy. However, the industrial use of acetylene is declining today as petroleum cracking yields much cheaper raw materials for the organic chemical industry.
As a result of the declining global reserve supply of petroleum, acetylene could become a more important industrial raw material yet again, because it can be obtained from coke by heating with calcium oxide (limestone) and subsequently by treating the intermediate calcium carbide with water.