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Modular Catalytic Partial Oxidation Reactors Using Microstructured Catalyst Structures with Combined High Thermal Conductivity and Flame Extinction Capacity to Enhance Process Safety Margins and Enable High Per Pass Conversion and High Selectivity
This project looks to use IntraMicron’s platform technology of microfibrous entrapped catalysts (MFEC) to create a safer and more efficient process for the production of ethylene oxide (EO). Ethylene oxide is produced via the exothermic reaction of oxygen with ethylene. Because of the poor heat transfer and flow distribution in current packed bed reactors, hotspots form in the bed, resulting in poor selectivity. To mitigate these issues, EO processes are typically operated with sub-stoichiometric oxygen concentrations resulting in only a 10-12% ethylene conversion per pass. The use of thermal buffering inerts, such as CH4, and operating at low per pass conversion results in significant downstream costs associated with separations, recycle, BOP, and OPEX. This project aims to apply microfibrous entrapped catalyst (MFEC) with high thermal conductivity and inherent flame arresting propensity to safely increase single-pass conversion of current ethylene epoxidation processes. MFEC is a structured catalyst with an effective thermal conductivity 250 times higher than a typical packed bed. Because of its high thermal conductivity and highly porous nature, MFEC provides a near-isothermal intrabed temperature profile and prevents hotspot formation, autoignition, and explosions.