North Carolina State University is looking for commercial partners to license and commercialize a novel oxidative cracking process, utilizing novel catalysts, which operates at lower than standard temperatures.
Ethylene is a major feedstock for the petrochemical industry, in particular in the production of plastics and synthetic rubbers. It is one of the most widely used chemicals in the food industry, used in agriculture for the ripening of fruit. The current method of ‘steam cracking’ light hydrocarbons is highly energy intensive, require large fuel sources and concomitant CO2 and NOx emissions and very limited single-pass conversion. This production process for ethylene is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the chemical industry.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a novel system of catalysts for oxidative cracking, in a chemical looping- oxidative dehydrogenation process. The oxygen is supplied from the lattice of the redox-catalyst. The catalyst can be doped in order to promote the formation of water over CO2 or CO and oxygen replenishment for the catalyst can occur with suitable oxidising gases such as CO2 or steam. Recycling of methane CO and CO2 into the reactor will suppress the formation of undesirable products. The catalyst is designed to promote paraffin conversion reactions at temperatures lower than 800oC and at higher temperatures maintains high selectivity. This novel system allows for production at a lower-temperature, using less energy and reducing undesirable by-products.
- Significantly higher single pass ethylene yield
- Oxidative cracking/dehydrogenation without the needs for air separation
- Highly efficient process with significantly lower emissions
- Lower temperature than conventional cracking
Related Patent Information
A patent application related to this invention has been filed.
About the Lead Inventor
Dr. Li is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at North Carolina State University. Dr. Li’s research interests include energy and environmental engineering and particle technology. His research focuses on the design, synthesis, and characterization of nano catalyst and reagent particles for biomass and fossil energy conversions, green liquid fuel synthesis, CO2 capture, and pollutant control. In addition, his research encompasses chemical reaction engineering and process synthesis and optimization. Density Functional Theory (DFT) based methods are also used to elucidate the particle reaction mechanisms and to identify potential ways to improve particle performance.