A Promising Start Toward Non-Oxidative Conversion of Methane to Hydrocarbons

Achievement date: 
2018
Outcome/accomplishment: 

A catalyst coupled with methane, the primary component of natural gas, and heated at a moderate temperature produced desired hydrocarbons and in research conducted at the Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at Purdue University.

Impact/benefits: 

Non-Oxidative Conversion (NOCM) is one of many routes investigated for the direct conversion of methane to olefins, specifically as an alternative to Oxidative Couple of Methane (OCM) that has proven elusive for several decades. The CISTAR research indicates significant progress in identifying catalysts that could be used on converting methane at temperatures that might prove economical for widespread industrial use.

Explanation/Background: 

CISTAR scientists have demonstrated a direct-conversion method without the complexities of utilizing an oxidative process, using instead a catalyst comprised of platinum, bismuth and a support material. When placed in a reactor with methane and heated to moderate temperatures (600−700 °C), the catalytic process produced methane conversion to ethane with carbon selectivity >90% and methane conversion ~2%—a promising start toward technologies suitable for exploitation on the industrial scale.