(243e) Kinetics and Reactor Performance of Liquid Phase Ethylene Production Byhydrogenation of Acetylene

Schulte, M. - Presenter, Missouri Institute of Technology and Science
Ethylene, a major chemical component in the production of polyethylene, is

primarily produced from the thermal cracking of naphtha with acetylene as the byproduct. The

concentration of acetylene in the cracking effluent must be less than 5 ppm to improve the

feed for polyethylene production. The gas phase hydrogenation of acetylene is currently the

predominant method used in industry for removing acetylene from the cracking effluent. In

this process, the formation of green oil on the catalyst surface contributes to its

deactivation. However, liquid phase hydrogenation of acetylene has been gaining attention

because it prevents runaway conditions caused by the exothermic nature of the reaction while

also reducing the green oil formation on the catalyst surface. The focus of this work is to

produce ethylene by hydrogenating acetylene in liquid phase using palladium catalysts

supported on alumina. A polar solvent, N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), was used to selectively

absorb acetylene and further hydrogenate to ethylene. This study will be the first in open

literature to examine the kinetics of the liquid phase hydrogenation of acetylene using a

selective solvent. The kinetics will be investigated using a basket reactor at a temperature and

pressure range of 80 - 120°C and 200 - 250 psig, respectively. The performance of the fixed bed

reactor will be studied under various operating conditions for upflow and trickle modes. The

comparison between these reactors will be investigated and evaluated.