C123 explores innovative processes to transform unexploited methane into propylene
Finding alternatives to the current energy-intensive production of propylene is essential to meet the European environmental challenges.
In the C123 project, largely available and unexploited methane is selectively converted into C3 hydrocarbons by combining the Oxidative Conversion of Methane (OCoM) - including the Oxidative Coupling of Methane (OCM) and other different reactions - and hydroformylation (HF).
For OCoM, the primary goals are to increase the methane conversion to 50% and include CO2 in the feed. For HF, to develop a more active and stable catalyst that can be operated at higher temperatures and lower pressures without significant modification to reach higher conversions during the HF of impure gas streams.
The innovative breakthrough resides in propylene being produced not via the very energy intensive steam cracking process, but rather through the less energy demanding and more selective buildup from smaller molecules.
The project’s primary goal is the validation in a suitable environment of an efficient and selective transformation of current generally accessible, unexploited, cheap methane resources (stranded gas (CH4) and biogas (CH4+CO2)) into propylene in particular and C3 products in general.
Its main objectives are the following:
- development of tailored, innovative heterogeneous catalysts,
- development of novel catalytic routes/novel reactor to comprehensively evaluate the process performance and the set-up in a circular economy approach to minimize by-products,
- overall integration and validation of an economically viable, environmentally friendly and socially acceptable process for the conversion of unexploited carbon resources into light hydrocarbons in a relevant environment.