Structured Catalyst for Exothermic Reactions
70092 Selective oxidations of hydrocarbons are particularly challenging due to exothermicity, flammability hazards, complex chemistry, and contacting issues. Environmental and economic factors are increasing the need for higher oxygenate selectivity and improved reactor productivity, as well as a lower cost of manufacture. However, conventional random packed bed catalyst structures are ill-suited for such reactions. This project will develop and commercialize a new generation of structured catalysts for the highly exothermic oxidation reactions. The approach is based on the development of a multifunctional catalyst that improves inter-phase heat and mass-transport while significantly reducing pore and film diffusional constraints within the catalyst structure, leading to better temperature control of the reaction. Phase I will demonstrate the feasibility of the structured catalyst for an industrially important reaction ¿ the epoxidation of ethylene to ethylene oxide. Structured oxidation catalysts will be synthesized, characterized, and tested for ethylene epoxidation. The performance of this new class of catalysts will be compared to the performance of conventional oxidation catalysts. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The structured oxidation catalyst should be suitable as a drop-in system for Ethylene Oxide (EO) manufacture. The high heat and mass-transfer rates, coupled with low pore and film diffusion barriers is expected to increase product selectivity significantly leading to considerable savings in raw material costs. The structured catalyst can also be used as a drop-in replacement for other industrially important selective oxidation reactions such as the synthesis of phthalic anhydride, maleic anhydride and formaldehyde.
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