Issue Date: February 11, 2008
Argonne Lab Claims New Ethylene Process
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have devised a high-temperature membrane that they say can produce ethylene from an ethane stream by removing pure hydrogen. Because the membrane only lets hydrogen through, the ethane stream doesn't come into contact with atmospheric oxygen and nitrogen. Nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide—greenhouse gases that are associated with traditional ethylene steam cracking technology—are, therefore, not created. Moreover, Argonne says heat needed to drive the reaction can be generated by burning the hydrogen. Ceramist and lead scientist Balu Balachandran hopes to extend the project by pairing with an industrial partner that would produce the membrane commercially.
- Chemical & Engineering News
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