Perovskite-based Oxidative Dehydrogenation of Ethane to Ethylene using a Solid Oxide Cell Configuration for Process Intensification



Shale gas exploration generates methane, mostly used as fuel, and natural gas liquids (NGLs), mainly used as chemical feedstocks. These NGLs are typically extracted using expensive turbo-expansion and cryogenic distillation unit operations and an alternative modular approach using a solid-state electrochemical reactor configuration is proposed. This electrochemical approach offers advantages over other process intensification techniques due to its modularity and potential delivery of an electric by-product. In this study, a solid oxide cell setup using rare-earth and alkali-earth based perovskites – LaFeO3 and SrFeO3 – was demonstrated for thermally efficient dehydrogenation of NGLs to generate olefins for downstream chemical production. This demonstration showed that ethane conversion via oxidative dehydrogenation (up to 0.1 mmol/min/cm2 of ethylene) was significant in comparison to thermal cracking (up to 0.01 mmol/min/cm2 of ethylene) under the conditions tested and illustrates the viability of this approach to process intensification. Furthermore, modifications to the current cell configuration are needed before the electric by-product can be generated.


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Supplementary material

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Supporting Information for Manuscript
Numerical values for figures of merit for perovskite catalyst, thermogravimetric analyses of perovskite catalysts, convex hull analyses of Sr-Zr-O systems as well as a schematic of the electrogenerative reactor are supplied as Supporting Information.