Ethylene could one day be made quickly and cheaply from methane rather than ethane or naptha if a breakthrough by Honeywell pans out. "This will basically for the first time take natural gas and directly convert it to a chemical, not through a multistage process," said Rajeev Gautam, CEO of Honeywell's UOP unit. "At this point we have enough proof of principle, enough testing done that you can probably detect the excitement in my voice." Next for the company is a planned pilot plant.

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