Olefins from natural gas

Русская версия статьи/Russian version of the article

Kolesnichenko N. V., Khajiev S.N.

Order of the Red Banner of Labor A. V. Topchiev Institute of petrochemical synthesis of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia Leninsky avenue, 29, Moscow, 119991, e-mail: nvk@ips.ac.ru

    Low molecular weight olefins are now created mainly as a result of pyrolisis of the gaso­line and gasoil fractions of oil. Inevitable reduction of oil stock, as well as the increasing demand for these valuable products of petroleum chemistry make scpecilaists concen­trate their attention on the methods of procressing natural gas to produce low molecular weight olefins. The aim of developing the process of production of ethylene and propylene from natural gas and, on this base, construction of enterpises for production of low molec­ular weight olefins in Russia, which has one-third of all world reserves of natural gas is very importnat at the moment. The most developed method of production of molecular weight olefins from natural gas is the one that involves preliminary conversion of natural gas into syngas (СО/Н2), which is fairly popular and widely used in the chemical industry.

     The report contains comparative characteristics of the technological process of pro­duction of low molecular weight olefins from syngas through methanol and/or DME, devel­oped by the leading companies and by Institute of petrochemical synthesis of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Thus, the process of olefins synthesis from СО and Н2 through methanol, being developed by the American company Mobil Oil Corporation, is ready for commercial use and now it is actively introduced into the production sector. This method is more efficient than the traditional industrial method (pyrolisis of light oil fractions): due to a lower temperature, used at the stage of olefins synthesis and higher selectivity con­cerning ethylene and propylene. The process of the companies UOP and Norsk Hydro is focused at the production of ethylene and propylene (and it should be mentioned, in equal proportions); by-products of this process, including butens, are supposed to be sued as a fuel for a heat power plant. Institute of petrochemical synthesis of the Russian Academy of Sciences has developed technological process of producing olefins from syngas, not through methanol, but through dimethyl ether (DME), obtained from the syngas during one stage. Direct production of DME from the syngas is more profitable in terms of capital investment and ecological safety, comparing with the production of methanol. The advan­tage of this method is the reduction of the heat effect at the stage of olefins synthesis from DME. The new catalyst affords the synthesis of low molecular weight olefins from pure DME with the same high level of output as in case of commercial «methanol» processes (in the processes of firms UOP (Norsk Hydro and Lurgi), while the temperature is much lower and the catalyst is more stable.

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