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High-Temperature Ethane Dehydrogenation in Microporous Zeolite Membrane Reactor
Ethene is the largest base chemical for the chemical industry and produced either by cracking or by dehydrogenation of light alkanes. The increasing demand for ethene has stimulated substantial research into the development of new processes to reduce energy consumption. Catalytic ethane dehydrogenation using a membrane reactor is an attractive solution because the cracking equilibrium can be shifted in favor of ethylene by selective removal of hydrogen.
In this study, we report the intensification of ethane dehydrogenation reaction in packed-bed membrane reactors operating with a Pt/Al2O3 catalyst. The effects of tubular MFI zeolite membranes on ethane conversion and ethene selectivity are investigated. The rate of H2 membrane permeation significantly enhances the ethane conversion. MFI membrane reactors allow the equilibrium limit of ethane conversion to be surpassed at high temperatures. It is demonstrated that medium-pore MFI membranes with moderate H2/C2H6 selectivity can be effective in enhancing ethane conversion at high operation temperature by timely removal of H2 through the membranes.