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Bifunctional Zeolite based Catalysts and Innovative process for Sustainable Hydrocarbon Transformation

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BIZEOLCAT (Bifunctional Zeolite based Catalysts and Innovative process for Sustainable Hydrocarbon Transformation)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-12-31

BIZEOLCAT is addressing the use of light alkanes as raw material for specialty chemical industry and not as feedstock (for fuels) in the current oil refining process. BIZEOLCAT aims to contribute to such transition.
BIZEOLCAT’s main objective is to obtain light olefins and aromatics using light hydrocarbons (C1, C3 and C4) by implementing new procedures, involving innovative catalysts synthesis methodologies and novel reactor design and processing, demonstrating their improvement in sustainability and economic scalability in existing industrial processes.

The project is addressing the catalytic transformation of hydrocarbon in line with the H2020 focus area of “Connecting economic and environmental gains” in a circular economy approach.
Three key elements are addressed:

• using resources efficiently, since light hydrocarbons will be transformed into products of added value
• reduce waste and environmental pollution, decreasing the availability of raw materials for fuel
• creating competitive advantages for companies and creating opportunities for new business since 4 large companies are interested in up taking results with the aim of improving their competitiveness and a new company is envisaged to open up business opportunities as a joint venture. Additionally, onene SME is working on evaluating the market to launch products and services that other partners are developing
Simplified Life Cycle Assessment performed on the proposed propane dehydrogenation and aromatization processes, have indicated a reduction in greenhouse emissions of at least 20% in comparison to current Oleflex® and reformate plants (for benzene production). Currently the completed Life Cycle Assessment is being developed with promising results.
The exploitation plan is based in the feasibility of the mentioned joint venture
BIZEOLCAT’s innovative schemes are based on the concept of considering the integration of a catalytic membrane reactor with innovative catalyst formulation, optimized ad hoc and including hydrogen removal during the reaction step, helping to reduce the operating temperature, thereby limiting the formation of coke on the catalyst, reducing the overall energy use and the environmental impact of the process.
Therefore, the quantified process schemes have been preliminary developed (and the optimization is in progress) based on values of the corresponding benchmark technology to determine the actual performance and limitations of the technologies and catalysts used at industrial scale. A benchmark technology, currently commercialized at industrial scale, was selected for each process. The obtained estimated values for OPEX and CAPEX for Propane dehydrogenation (PDH) are promising and obtention of parameters around other two process, Butane dehydrogenation (BDH) and Propane Aromatisation (PAr) is work in progress.

All the systematic study of catalytic experiments to test the performance of novel catalysts and the advantages of the membrane reactor has been finished in this period. Propane aromatisation experiments to provide data for kinetic modelling are planning to be finished on M38.

After mapping out the production routes for the innovative production processes and benchmark conventional routes in detailed data according to the defined schemes and scenarios, there are preliminary results of the LCA study in task T5.1. These results are based on preliminary heat and material balances that will be updated in the next reporting period. NextChem organized the first HAZOP study on PDH, resulting in more than 30 recommendations about additional safeguards that will be included in the updated Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams. Definitive results of HHRA (Human Health Risk assessment) and ERA (Environmental Risk Assessment) for the conventional routes, and preliminary results of HHRA for BIZEOLCAT routes was obtained (by Eurecat), indicating important improvements in the safety of handling the BIZEOLCAT catalysts over the conventional catalysts.
---Progress beyond SoA in BIZEOLCAT in process engineering

Innovations beyond SOTA
• Evaluating various hydrocarbon resources.
• Examining process scale economics also.
• Feeding data back into (reactor) engineering.
• Evaluating temporal resources variation.
• Comparing existing industrial benchmarks.
• Outlining potential exploitation niches.

---Progress beyond SoA in BIZEOLCAT catalysts
Innovations beyond SOTA: Improved performances (activity, selectivity, and stability) at lab scale using as reference benchmark catalysts. Synthesis optimisation achieved and improved performances validated

---Progress beyond SoA in BIZEOLCAT catalyst fabrication methodologies

Innovations beyond SoA :Currently, we have already validated at TRL4 all the proposed new synthetic routes conceived in the context of this project. These synthetic routes will be extended for the preparation of a catalyst scope, and later, and TRL5 will be validated by optimising the upscaling of the catalyst preparation methodology in a pilot plan

---Progress beyond SoA in BIZEOLCAT membrane reactors

Innovations beyond SoA: We will further develop the production process novel membranes. Recyclability of metals and supports will be studied in the project.

---Progress beyond SoA in BIZEOLCAT modelling

Innovations beyond SoA
Providing detailed understanding of reaction mechanisms, both for desired and undesired reactions (re. coke) - DONE (for Propylene dehydrogenation already published 10.1016/j.jcat.2020.03.037 for Butane dehydrogenation awaiting consortium approval before submission)
• Linking atomic scale description of catalyst scale with reactor scale - DONE for Butane dehydrogenation in the paper awaiting consortium approval before submission
• Providing activation energies as input to microkinetic modelling. - DONE for Propylene dehydrogenation in 10.1016/j.jcat.2020.03.037 and Butane dehydrogenation in the paper awaiting consortium approval
• Providing catalyst reengineering data. - done
• Reactor unit engineering with micro-kinetics. - ongoing
• Optimising catalyst/reactor simultaneously. - pending
• fundamental understanding.done
• Avoiding/minimising the formation of coke. - pending
• Assessing socio-economic impact on European Neighbourhood Policy countries. - ongoing
• Guidelines on establishing viable operation in European Neighbourhood Policy countries. - ongoing

- Oxidative dehydrogenation of Propylene dehydrogenation and effect of surface oxidation state - – done
- Effect of dopants on propylene and butane dehydrogenation: - done


The socio-economic impact of the investment and operations phases of the novel PDH process was estimated quantitatively with the use of a macro-economic model populated with the input-output data from all EU-countries. The model estimates the added value for every industry in every EU-country from a hypothetical production facility placed in Spain. Baseline studies for all Eastern ENP countries and an overall study of the EU area was carried out by SINTEF and NIC for a qualitative socio-economic impact assessment (SEIA). EUT initiated a new activity on eco-design and organized meetings on eco-design with key consortium members in WP1-3 to influence design decisions in with respect to safety and environmental considerations.
links to BIZEOLCAT social networks