A novel microwave-assisted methanol-to-hydrocarbons process with a structured ZSM-5/SiC foam catalyst: proof-of-concept and environmental impacts

Marco Tomatis, Xiaoxia Ou, Yongyong Lan, Yilai Jiao, Yipei Chen, Zheng Guo, Xin Gao, Tao Wu, Chunfei Wu, Kaiqi Shi, Adisa Azapagic, Xiaolei Fan

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study presents a novel combination of microwave irradiation and structured zeolite/SiC foam catalyst to improve the methanol-to-hydrocarbons (MTH) process as well as its environmental sustainability. Accordingly, ZSM-5/SiC foam was studied under microwave irradiation at various reaction temperatures (400–550 °C) and space velocities (8 and 12 h−1) and compared to conventional ZSM-5 pellets. ZSM-5/SiC foam promoted higher selectivity towards C1−C5 hydrocarbons (∼95%) and particularly propylene (∼40% at 400 °C and 8 h−1) compared to ZSM-5 pellets (∼40% and 6–9%, respectively) due to the enhanced mass and heat transfers. The microwave-assisted MTH process with both the structured catalyst and pellets was also assessed on the environmental sustainability via life cycle assessment in comparison with the conventionally-heat process with the structured catalyst. The results showed that the microwave-based process with the structured catalyst could reduce the environmental impacts of propylene production by 22–30% compared to the conventionally-heated process with the same catalyst.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117669
Number of pages13
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Volume255
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Structured catalyst
  • SiC foam
  • Microwave
  • Methanol-to-hydrocarbons (MTH)
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)

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