SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — A “Direct Conversion Technology of Non-oxidative Methane” owned only by the U.S. and China has been developed by Korean researchers.
Analysts say it will change the landscape of the global petrochemical industry.
A research team from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) said on Tuesday that it had developed technology that can convert methane into ethylene, a key fuel for petrochemicals, as well as chemical materials and hydrogen.
The direct conversion technology of non-oxidative methane is a method that allows users to obtain chemical materials directly from methane without oxidizing agents such as oxygen.
Compared to a direct conversion from oxidized methane, the new technology is much more efficient and safer. However, it has yet to be commercialized due to the high level of technology required.
Although the direct conversion process of methane is used to inject oxygen to control methyl radical formation, there is a problem where post treatment costs are high and efficiency is low.
The KRICT succeeded in developing a non-oxidizing conversion technology that can convert 99 percent into chemical materials such as ethylene and benzene while controlling methyl radical formation without oxidizing agent at high temperatures of over 1,000 degrees.
The core of the technology is monoatomic iron, which is used as a catalyst. The researchers optimized the catalytic surface through research with the Experimental Chemistry department.
Unlike existing catalysts, the optimized catalyst does not produce by-products such as carbon dioxide in the process of the chain reaction, and the unnecessary energy that goes into the chain reaction is reduced, thus increasing energy efficiency.
Through the process, 86 percent of C2 compounds such as ethylene, ethane, and acetylene and 13 percent of aromatic compounds such as benzene, xylene, toluene, and naphthalene were converted.
In addition, hydrogen was formed as a by-product.
“The results of this study are of great academic significance. It revealed a mechanism in which by-products are suppressed depending on the nature of the catalytic surface,” said Kim Seok-ki, a researcher at the KRICT.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)