Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Fred Weber

Committee Members

Robert M. Cowell, George C. Frazier


An alternative technique for estimating toxic releases in the production of petrochemicals for the materials production stage of a life-cycle inventory was developed. This procedure is called the Public Data Method and is based on data sources available from the public domain - the Toxic Release Inventory, the Chemical Guide to United States, selected literature sources, Chemical Marketing Reporter chemical profiles, and the Environmental Protection Agency's Sector Facility Indexing Project notebook on petroleum refining. Petrochemical databases for polystyrene, high-density polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polycarbonate, and ethylene glycol were created by the Public Data Method and presented as examples of this methodology. Results were mixed, with the positive result of speciation of toxic releases, but negative result of inconsistent datum values when compared to values from other data sources. Advantages of the Public Data Method are generation of speciated data of toxic chemical emissions, less aggregation than is found in the data sources of conventional life-cycle inventories, data that is current and date-specific, and less labor-intensive than current methods. Although the Public Data Method as presented in this study was applied to petrochemicals, it could be used for other materials based on sector facility reports of other industries such as, aluminum, copper, lead, or zinc refining, the iron and steel industry, metal mining extraction, glass and other industries.

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