Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


The present research programme involves development of inert and catalytic membrane reactors for oxidation of light alkanes mainly focused on propane oxidative dehydrogenation to propene and oxidation of propane to acrylic acid and based on catalytic formulations which consist in a magnesium vanadate oxide (V/VMgO) and vanadium phosphorus oxide VPO.

For the oxidative dehydrogenation of propane to propene, the composition of the surrounding atmosphere does not seem to determine the state of oxidation of the V/VMgO catalyst. However, under HC rich atmosphere (low oxygen concentration), the catalyst is less active but more selective towards propene. An advanced description of the working surface and of the ODHP mechanism has been provided, which ascertains a Mars-van Krevelen mechanism.

A process flow diagram was established for a commercial plant for an Inert Membrane Reactor (IMR) in the ODH of propane. The basis for the process is a production of 100.000 MTPY of propylene. It is assumed that a 90% selectivity to propene is obtained and that the overall conversion per pass of propane is 65%. In order to optimize the oxidative dehydrogenation of propane as a commercial process, five different cases have been studied. A scheme of the two process flow diagrams used is proposed. The main differences between the cases studied are related to the length of the membrane tubes and to the composition of the shell side stream permeating through the membrane wall. A multitubular reactor configuration inmersed in a fluidized sand bath has been adopted for the plant study. The insertion of reaction tubes (fixed bed catalyst inside) and refrigeration tubes (generating 600 psi steam) within a fluid bed shell is the final design.

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