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New catalyst geometry poised to re-shape ethanol-to-ethylene conversion

By Mary Page Bailey |

As chemical manufacturers continue to seek renewable alternatives for fossil-fuel feedstocks, bio-based ethanol is poised to be a crucial raw material in the ethylene value chain for products from jet fuel to plastics. The range of novel-shaped alumina catalyst developed by the Catalysts division of BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; catalysts.basf.com) is said to enable 99.5% selectivity and conversion for the ethanol-to-ethylene (E2E) conversion process. Later this year, BASF will expand its existing range of E2E alumina catalysts with the addition of a new star-shaped variant. Source: BASF[/caption] “Normally, heterogeneous catalysts are offered in tablets or cylindrical extrudates, so this catalyst’s unique shape really sets it apart. The fins of the star maximize the active geometrical surface area for the reaction,” explains Kaidi Breiten, BASF’s global marketing manager for alumina and specialty catalysts. “Another advantage when you go from tablets or regular extrudates to these specially shaped extrudates is that the packed density in the bed, which is correlated with a maximized geometrical surface area, is significantly lower, impacting the overall cost optimization of the reaction,” adds Radu Craciun, technology…
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