Direct Conversion of Ethane to Oxygenates, Ethylene, and Hydrogen in a Noncatalytic Biphasic Plasma Microreactor

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ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
We selectively upgrade ethane (C2H6) to ethanol (C2H5OH), methanol (CH3OH), and acetic acid (CH3COOH) in a catalyst-free, continuous, argon/water biphasic plasma microreactor. The water (H2O) evaporates and electron- dissociates into OH· radicals. OH· recombines with alkyl radicals, produced via electron dissociation of ethane, to generate the oxygenates that absorb into H2O. A plasma-assisted path, reminiscent of the low-temperature thermocatalytic ethane steam reforming, leads to significant H2 coproduction. The gaseous stream also comprises CO2 and C2H4. Up to 1.3 and 1 μmol min–1 of liquid C2H5OH and CH3OH are attained, respectively. Compared to CO2-assisted ethane plasma conversion, which produces many oxygenates with low selectivity, the carbon selectivity can range from >70% C2H5OH, CH3OH, and CH3COOH to 60% C2H4. The low carbon footprint, electrified, modular, intensified process using a reactive evaporation and separation plasma could pave the way for the valorization of underutilized shale gas resources in remote areas.
This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, copyright © 2023 American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see This article will be embargoed until 05/29/2024.
gas-to-liquid transformation, liquid fuels, hydrogen, electrification, modular reactors, nonthermal plasma
Cameli, Fabio, Panagiotis Dimitrakellis, and Dionisios G. Vlachos. “Direct Conversion of Ethane to Oxygenates, Ethylene, and Hydrogen in a Noncatalytic Biphasic Plasma Microreactor.” ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 11, no. 21 (May 29, 2023): 8003–8.