New Catalysts for Dehydrogenation of Ethane and Propane

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Researchers at Purdue University and Iowa State University have developed new catalysts for dehydrogenation of short alkanes like ethane and propane. Dehydrogenation of ethane and propane produces ethylene and propylene, respectively, which are important feedstocks for the production of plastics and other petrochemicals. Traditionally, platinum-based catalysts are used for propane dehydrogenation. However, these catalysts quickly deactivate due to coke buildup, and regeneration may decrease catalyst lifetime because of sintering. The Purdue/Iowa State researchers developed a catalyst consisting of a noble metal (e.g.: platinum) nanolayer on MXene (M = early transition metal, X = carbon or nitrogen) that resists deactivation with coke. With one of their catalysts, the researchers achieved 22% conversion of propane to propylene with over 90% selectivity and only 35 mg coke deposition/g catalyst and 18% conversion of ethane to ethylene with over 90% selectivity.

Technology Validation: At temperatures of 400-600 degrees C and under a flow of 200 cubic centimeters/min of 10% alkane, 90% nitrogen for 24 hours, the researchers dehydrogenated ethane and propane with high selectivity and low levels of coke deposition on the catalyst.

- High selectivity
- Low catalyst deactivation rate
- At or below the industry-standard process temperature

- Dehydrogenation of short alkanes
- Production of petrochemical feedstocks
Oct 17, 2022
United States

Utility Patent
United States
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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