(129f) Electrochemical Oxidative Dehydrogenation (e-ODH) As a Process Intensification Platform in Shale Gas Upgrading

Daramola, D. A., Ohio University
Trembly, J., Ohio University
Velraj, S., Ohio University
The current availability of Shale Gas has resulted in an increase in ethane availability due to its higher content of natural gas liquids (NGLs) in comparison to conventional natural gas. The majority of the new NGL capacity comes from natural gas producing plays (Utica and Marcellus shale) and associated gas from tight oil production (Eagle Ford and Bakken shale). However, ethane is costly and energy intensive to recover from natural gas as cryogenic (turbo-expansion) processing is required. As such, this ethane oversupply leads to a rejection of ethane to the gas pipeline system to eliminate the recovery cost. Still, this technique can not completely manage the ethane overabundance as the gas condensation may occur through transportation under operating pressure. Although the NGLs export is another management technique, most of NGLs plants are far from the coasts.

Within this context, Ohio University (OHIO), with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) Project DE-FE0031709, is developing a modular electrogenerative oxidative dehydrogenation (e-ODH) process, which directly converts NGLs at the well head into fuels, electrical power, and pipeline-quality natural gas. In this process, ethane (and possibly other NGLs) contained in the well head gas are selectively converted into alkenes and byproduct electrical power using a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) module. This module could possibly be coupled with an oligomerizaton reactor for additional alkene upgrading. Advantages offered by this e-ODH process include the following: 1) Modular operation with lower capital and operating costs; 2) Selective conversion of NGLs contained in well head gas; 3) Production of gasoline range hydrocarbons, pipeline-quality natural gas, and electrical power as products; and 4) Utilization of existing SOFC and oligomerization reactor technology minimizing commercial adoption and market entry risk.

OHIO has been using both process models and experimental analyses to develop the e-ODH process via Aspen Plus simulations and high temperature catalyst development, respectively. This presentation will discuss results from both initiatives during the meeting.