UK sci­en­tists make meth­ane from air

Chemical Industry Digest - - New Developments -

Sci­en­tists at Cardiff Uni­ver­sity, UK have cre­ated methanol from meth­ane us­ing oxy­gen from the air. Re­searchers at Cardiff Catal­y­sis In­sti­tute have dis­cov­ered they can pro­duce methanol from meth­ane through sim­ple catal­y­sis that al­lows methanol pro­duc­tion at low tem­per­a­tures us­ing oxy­gen and hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide.

The find­ings, pub­lished in Sci­ence, have ma­jor im­pli­ca­tions for cleaner, greener in­dus­trial pro­cesses world­wide. Pro­fes­sor Gra­ham Hutch­ings, Di­rec­tor of Cardiff Catal­y­sis In­sti­tute, said, “The quest to find a more ef­fi­cient way of pro­duc­ing methanol is a hun­dred years old. Our process uses oxy­gen – ef­fec­tively a ‘free’ prod­uct in the air around us – and com­bines it with hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide at mild tem­per­a­tures which re­quire less en­ergy.

“At present global nat­u­ral gas pro­duc­tion is ca. 2.4 bil­lion tons per an­num and 4% of this is flared into the at­mos­phere - roughly 100 mil­lion tons. Cardiff Catal­y­sis In­sti­tute’s ap­proach to us­ing nat­u­ral gas could use this “waste” gas sav­ing CO emis­sions. In the US there is

2 now a switch to shale gas, and our ap­proach is well suited to us­ing this gas as it can en­able it to be liq­ue­fied so it can be read­ily trans­ported,” he added.

Dr. James J. Spivey, Pro­fes­sor of Chem­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing at Louisiana State Uni­ver­sity and Edi­torin-Chief of Catal­y­sis To­day, said, “This re­search is of sig­nif­i­cant value to the sci­en­tific and in­dus­trial com­mu­ni­ties. The con­ver­sion of our shale re­sources into higher value in­ter­me­di­ates like methanol pro­vides new routes for chem­i­cal in­ter­me­di­ates.”

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