Recently, a research group led by Prof. TIAN Peng and Prof. LIU Zhongmin from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) reported progress in methanol-to-olefins (MTO) catalysts. The study was published in Advanced Materials.
MTO reaction and its industrial plant over zeolite catalyst. (Image by YANG Miao)
Methanol conversion to olefins provides an alternative platform for producing basic chemicals from nonpetroleum resources such as natural gas and coal. Methanol-to-olefin (MTO) catalysis is one of the critical constraints for process development, reactor design, and profitability of the process.
After the construction and commissioning of the world's first MTO plant by DICP based on high-efficiency catalyst and fluidization technology in 2010, more attention has been attracted for a deep understanding of the reaction mechanism and catalysis principle, leading to continuous development of catalysts and processes.
The scientists summarized recent progress in MTO catalyst development, focusing on the advances in the optimization of SAPO-34 catalysts, together with the development efforts on catalysts with preferential ethylene or propylene selectivity.
Based on the above work, the research team developed new generation of DMTO catalysts, realized its industrial production in October 2018, and successfully applied the new catalyst to DMTO commercial plant, showing significant improvement in yield of light olefins.
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China and the Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It was dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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