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Improved Reactor and Catalyst for Light Alkanes to Olefins and Liquid Fuels

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0019711
Agency Tracking Number: 250176
Amount: $1,049,901.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 22a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002155
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-04-06
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-04-05
Small Business Information
410 Sackett Point Road
North Haven, CT 06473-3106
United States
DUNS: 178154456
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jeffrey Weissman
 (203) 287-3700
Business Contact
 Anthony Anderson
Phone: (203) 287-3700
Research Institution

Natural gas is typically delivered from a gas well to an end-user via a pipeline system. When pipeline infrastructure is not available, the gas is either compressed or liquefied for storage and transport or flared. Often distribution of remote natural gas or use of it for power production cannot be economically justified. This type of gas reserve is typically considered as stranded natural gas and represents billions of dollars in unutilized assets. One approach to utilize these gases is to convert them to high energy density liquid hydrocarbons. A compact GTL process can be deployed at the well head but must overcome product yield and economic issues related to use of extremely small-scale processing equipment. Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) addresses these issues through development of high yield processing technology taking advantage of novel catalysts for the conversion of ethane into intermediates, which are then upgrading to liquid transportation fuels. Phase I showed highest reported to date performance for GTL-intermediate catalyst, enabling a lower energy pathway to olefins and a corresponding lower cost path to liquid hydrocarbon fuels. PCI showed that the GTL reactor and catalysts enables product yields higher than any previously reported, 64% vs. 40%, minimizes side reactions, and enables economically viable production of liquid transportation fuels for small, 1 MMSCF/day natural gas wells (w/10% ethane) to potentially very large installations. PCI shows that a ~35% reduction in energy consumption for ethylene production alone is possible by shifting manufacturing from the industrially important but highly endothermic ethane steam cracking to our novel exothermic process. Phase II will further optimize the reactor and catalyst for yields and costs needed to reach $3/gallon gasoline target, using a combination of experimental studies, reaction rate, reactor, and process modeling, and techno-economic assessments. The process is applicable to remote, stranded or excess natural gas, as well for GTL applications, as well as to facilities looking to reduce costs of olefin manufacturing.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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