Gas Phase Catalytic Oxidation of Cyclohexane to Cyclohexanone and Cyclohexanol

Award Information
Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Evernu Technology, LLC
1616 Holly Hill Lane, Suite 108, Maple Glen, PA, 19002
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Manhua Lin
(610) 519-7531
Business Contact:
Manhua Lin
(610) 519-7531
Research Institution:
In the U.S., the annual production of 4.6 billion pounds of nylon starts with the liquid-phase oxidation of 3.5 billion pounds of cyclohexane to KA-oil (a mixture of cyclohexanone and cyclohexanol) and the subsequent oxidation of the latter to adipic acid with HNO3. The liquid-phase cyclohexane process, which operates at only 4-10% cyclohexane conversion, is the ¿least efficient¿ industrial process, and wastes trillions of Btu of energy in the repeated recycling of 90-96% of the 3.5 billion pounds of unreacted cyclohexane. This project will develop an effective metal-oxide-based catalyst for the efficient conversion of cyclohexane to KA-oil in a gas-phase process. A gas-phase catalytic process would greatly enhance KA-oil productivity while capturing ~7 trillion Btu/yr of energy released in the exothermic reaction. Phase I proved the feasibility of producing cyclohexanone via cyclohexane gas-phase oxidation with air as the oxidant. Several lead catalysts were discovered that met and exceeded the targets of 20% cyclohexane conversion and 20% cyclohexanone selectivity. Phase II will seek to achieve one-pass 30% cyclohexane conversion and 50-60 % KA-oil selectivity by: (1) conducting studies to understand and minimize the undesirable cyclohexane oxidation pathways, and to enhance KA-oil production; (2) enhancing the catalytic performance of the lead catalysts through the optimization of catalyst composition and preparation methods; and (3) conducting an economic analysis to compare the new process to existing commercial processes. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The gas-phase cyclohexane catalytic oxidation process should replace current conventional cyclohexane liquid-phase processes for the production of KA-oil, the key intermediates for the production of 4.6 billion lb/yr of nylon in the U.S. The advantages of the gas-phase process include: (1) improved productivity, (2) significant reduction of energy consumption, (3) the capture for use of at least 7 trillion Btu/yr of energy from the exothermic high temperature gas-phase process; (4) the elimination of the need to use and recycle billions lb/yr of boric acid; and (5) the elimination of massive amounts of acidic aqueous waste streams.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo

Department of Agriculture logo

Department of Commerce logo

Department of Defense logo

Department of Education logo

Department of Energy logo

Department of Health and Human Services logo

Department of Homeland Security logo

Department of Transportation logo

Enviromental Protection Agency logo

National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo

National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government