Benzene is a cyclical, six carbons, and six hydrogen molecule. It is a clear, colorless, volatile liquid with a characteristic ‘aromatic’ smell. Benzene is extracted from two primary sources: from pyrolysis gasoline (pygas) which is a co-product of ethylene manufacture, or from reformate, a stream resulting from the catalytic reforming process used to produce high octane gasoline. Benzene can also be derived from toluene via two on-purpose routes: hydrodealkylation and disproportionate.
Benzene is a very important basic chemical, being converted into many of the intermediates and polymers which are needed to produce a wide range of the goods we all use every day. Familiar products that may be made from chemicals derived from benzene