Understanding Electrochemically Induced Olefin Complexation: Towards Electrochemical Olefin-Paraffin Separations

19 March 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Olefin-paraffin separation is a critical yet energy-intensive process in the chemical industry, accounting for over 250 trillion BTU/year of global energy consumption. This work explores the use of redox-active nickel maleonitriledithiolate complex for olefin-paraffin separations. Key performance factors, namely the electrochemical oxidation of the complex and the olefin capture utilization fraction, were systematically quantified. Electrochemical studies revealed near-complete oxidation of Ni(II) to Ni(IV) species, suggesting that the electrochemical oxidation step is not a limiting factor in olefin capture. The utilization fraction was found to be strongly dependent on the complexation equilibrium behavior between olefin-bound and unbound state of the complex. Time-resolved kinetic measurements unveiled a sluggish complexation rate, requiring over 36 hours to approach equilibrium. These insights highlight the importance of driving the complexation equilibrium and improving the kinetics to enhance the performance of Ni-based electrochemical swing absorbers for energy-efficient olefin-paraffin separations. The findings lay the groundwork for future optimization strategies and industrial implementation of this sustainable separation technology.


Nickel Dithiolene
Olefin complexation
Olefin Separation
utilization fraction

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information for Understanding Electrochemically Induced Olefin Complexation: Towards Electrochemical Olefin-Paraffin Separations
Supporting Information contains relevant data and figures not included in the main manuscript but can help enlighten certain details, especially regarding HNMR multiplicity, electrochemical reactor cell design, and Keq constants.


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