Nav: Home

New, low cost alternative for ethylene production

January 28, 2018

The increased supply and optimized cost of natural gas have pushed chemical industries to actively seek for new ways of converting methane, the main constituent of natural gas, to ethylene, a hydrocarbon widely used in chemical products such as plastic. Oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) is of high interest as a potentially efficient method but has yet to become commercially practical for various reasons, for example, the reaction temperature of over 700ºC requiring expensive equipment with high heat resistance, increasing production cost.

Scientists at Waseda University discovered a new reaction mechanism of performing OCM at a temperature as low as 150ºC. The novel catalytic reaction found in the study, which demonstrated both high yield and catalytic activity, was done in an electric field, and could provide a more cost-effective method of synthesizing ethylene in the future.

Their findings were published online in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C on January 22, 2018.

"Performing OCM in an electric field dramatically lowered the reaction temperature, and we succeeded in efficiently synthesizing C2 hydrocarbon, including ethylene, from oxygen in the atmosphere with methane," says Shuhei Ogo, assistant professor of catalytic chemistry at Waseda.

He explains that by applying an electric field, the lattice oxygen of a catalyst is activated and becomes a reactive oxygen species even at low temperature, such as 150ºC. "The redox reaction mechanism, which repeats the consumption and regeneration of the reactive oxygen species on the catalyst surface, keeps the catalytic reaction cycle going." Reports on such phenomenon are unprecedented, and the results of this study are considered to be the first of its kind in the world.

This reaction mechanism can lower the production cost of ethylene because high-temperature heat sources and large-scale heat exchanger devices become unnecessary, holding the cost on facilities and its management down as well. Not only large-scale manufacturers, but small to mid-sized gas wells with smaller production scales can also benefit from the reduced cost.

"The findings of this study can be utilized for various kinds of catalytic reaction that proceeds by redox reaction mechanism, while providing high selectivity and stability as well as energy efficiency at low temperature," Ogo adds.

The research group plans to further investigate the highly active and selective catalyst in the electric field.
-end-
Reference

Published online in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C on January 22, 2018

Electron-hopping brings lattice strain and high catalytic activity in low temperature oxidative coupling of methane in an electric field

Authors: Shuhei Ogo*, Hideaki Nakatsubo, Kousei Iwasaki, Ayaka Sato, Kota Murakami, Tomohiro Yabe, Atsushi Ishikawa, Hiromi Nakai, and Yasushi Sekine

*Corresponding author: ogo@aoni.waseda.jp DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b08994

University news on this research

About Waseda University

Waseda University is a leading private, non-profit institution of higher education based in central Tokyo, with over 50,000 students in 13 undergraduate and 20 graduate schools. Founded in 1882, Waseda cherishes three guiding principles: academic independence, practical innovation and the education of enlightened citizens. Established to mold future leaders, Waseda continues to fulfill this mission, counting among its alumni seven prime ministers and countless other politicians, business leaders, journalists, diplomats, scholars, scientists, actors, writers, athletes and artists. The University is also number one in Japan in international activities, including the number of international students, with the broadest range of degree programs fully taught in English.

Waseda University

Related Methane Articles:

Microbial fuel cell converts methane to electricity
Transporting methane from gas wellheads to market provides multiple opportunities for this greenhouse gas to leak into the atmosphere.
Methane seeps in the Canadian high Arctic
Cretaceous climate warming led to a significant methane release from the seafloor, indicating potential for similar destabilization of gas hydrates under modern global warming.
Methane emissions from trees
A new study from the University of Delaware is one of the first in the world to show that tree trunks in upland forests actually emit methane rather than store it, representing a new, previously unaccounted source of this powerful greenhouse gas.
Oil production releases more methane than previously thought
Emissions of methane and ethane from oil production have been substantially higher than previously estimated, particularly before 2005.
Bursts of methane may have warmed early Mars
The presence of water on ancient Mars is a paradox.
New method for quantifying methane emissions from manure management
The EU Commision requires Denmark to reduce drastically emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture.
New 3-D printed polymer can convert methane to methanol
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have combined biology and 3-D printing to create the first reactor that can continuously produce methanol from methane at room temperature and pressure.
Arctic Ocean methane does not reach the atmosphere
250 methane flares release the climate gas methane from the seabed and into the Arctic Ocean.
Long-sought methane production mechanism identified
Researchers have identified the mechanism by which bacteria create methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Retreat of the ice followed by millennia of methane release
Methane was seeping from the seafloor for thousands of years following the retreat of the Barents Sea ice sheet, shows a groundbreaking new study in Nature Communications.

Related Methane Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#513 Dinosaur Tails
This week: dinosaurs! We're discussing dinosaur tails, bipedalism, paleontology public outreach, dinosaur MOOCs, and other neat dinosaur related things with Dr. Scott Persons from the University of Alberta, who is also the author of the book "Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands".