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Séminaire Chimie ED459

From feedstocks to light olefins in the petroleochemical industry : opportunities for catalysis R&D

Dr. Thomas Davidian (Advantaged olefins R&D, Dow Benelux B.V., Terneuzen, The Netherlands)

publié le

Le Jeudi 21 Février 2013 à 13h45
UM2, salle de cours SC-16.01

The petroleochemical industry aims at producing and converting hydrocarbon building block monomers into a range of chemicals and polymers covering a wide variety of applications. These products are essential to the whole downstream manufacturing industry such as automotive, construction, electronics, healthcare, food and water. With respective annual capacities of 141 MMt and about 80 MMt, ethylene and propylene are by-far the main olefins used in the industry.

The heart of the petroleochemical complex is the steam cracker which converts a paraffinic feedstock into light olefins by means of a high temperature treatment in the presence of steam. Conventional cracker feedstocks are either liquid cuts from the refining processes such as naphtha and condensate or light gases such as ethane or propane. Feedstock cost is an essential factor determining the profitability of this industry and the steady increase in oil price is leading researchers to develop new routes for the production of ethylene and (on-purpose) propylene from alternative feedstocks such as coal, natural gas and biomass. In the US, recent developments in shale gas extraction have revitalized the chemical industry and accelerated the development of gas-based processes.

In general, the conversion of alternative feedstocks to olefins requires several steps and the routes going via synthesis gas are the most advanced. The main routes for syngas conversion to lower olefins are via methanol (MTO and MTP), higher alcohols or direct syngas to olefins. In 2011, a significant milestone has been achieved with the first methanol to propylene plant being successfully started up in China. Nevertheless, important challenges for catalyst development research still remain and the use of high throughput tools to accelerate catalyst discovery is essential. At Dow, several routes in the area of alkane activation and syngas conversion are being investigated with particular efforts on developing catalysts that are active, stable and selective to the desired products. Recently, advances in the direct conversion of syngas to olefins have been made, opening up for future development opportunities.

Contact local ICGM : Dr. Dorothée Berthomieu (équipe MACS)

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