1,4-Butanediol is used industrially as a solvent and in the manufacture of some types of plastics, elastic fibers and polyurethanes. In organic chemistry, 1,4-butanediol is used for the synthesis of γ-butyrolactone (GBL). In the presence of phosphoric acid and high temperature, it dehydrates to the important solvent tetrahydrofuran.] At about 200 °C in the presence of soluble ruthenium catalysts, the diol undergoes dehydrogenation to form butyrolactone.
World production of 1,4-butanediol was claimed to be about one million metric tons per year and market price is about 2,000 USD (1,600 EUR) per ton (2005). In 2013, worldwide production was claimed to be billions of lbs (consistent with approximately one million metric tons).
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