Introducing GTL: A Newly Invented Class of Solvents

Shell Chemicals has recently commercialized a new process that turns natural gas into a synthetic paraffinic fluid. They call this process gas to liquid (GTL) technology. With this technological advance, Shell has introduced a new class of solvents to world chemical markets. Shell’s new GTL line offers several advantages over petroleum-derived solvents:

  • Zero odor
  • Water-white color
  • Clean burning
  • Readily biodegradable
  • Low toxicity

GTL fluids have an extremely low aromatic content and non-detectable quantities of sulfur, benzene, heavy metals, and other impurities. As this is brand new technology, there’s not yet a precedent for where GTLs are best suited. We recommend trying them where odor, color, or environmental concerns are important to you. Currently, FBC Chemical has two GTL products available for sampling – G75 and G85.



Flash point (°C)



Boiling range (°C)

188 – 343

198 – 343

Kari-butanol value



Vapor pressure @ 20° C (mm Hg)



Viscosity @ 20° C (cSt)



Shell built a $20 billion state of the art refinery in Qatar to keep up with the anticipated demand. You can learn about that project in this 4 minute video:

FBC is proud to have been chosen as a selected distributor for these new products. Contact your FBC sales representative today for further specifications or to request a sample.

Understanding Biodegradability

The word “biodegradable” is defined as “Capable of decaying through action of living organisms.”

From this definition one can gather that “biodegradability” is simply the capacity for a particular material to biodegrade.

Many products in our industry fall under scrutiny for their biodegradability as they often must undergo a treatment cycle in a wastewater treatment plant. The time period used for this cycle is 28 days. The vernacular of the chemical industry offers two main terms to describe biodegradability based on this time period.

Inherently Biodegradable:

When a product is classified as “Inherently Biodegradable,” it means it will biodegrade to its natural state, when subjected to sunlight, water and microbial activity from as little as 20% to less than 60% in 28 days.

Readily Biodegradable:

Products are considered “Readily Biodegradable” when they have the natural ability to biodegrade to their natural state, when subjected to sunlight, water and microbial activity, from 60-100% in 28 days.

These terms are important for anyone formulating with eco-friendliness in mind. For decades, the workhorse surfactant family for detergents, degreasers and hard surface cleaners has been nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). These have been under great scrutiny for some time because they are in fact not readily biodegradable and tend to persist in wildlife and humans. The jury is still out on the dangers of this presence, but evidence suggests that NPEs are not completely harmless.

The good news for animals, fish and people is that FBC Chemical offers several alternatives to NPEs and we are happy to share our formulating expertise with you.  Please contact your sales representative to discuss these options.

Further reading.