The result of the research, led by Shanghai Tech University and the Shanghai AdvancedResearch Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was published in the Britishscientific journal Nature on Oct. 5.
Olefin is a basic carbon-based building block that is widely used in the production ofindustrial chemicals and plastics. It is an important contributor to synthetic rubber,synthetic plastics, high-grade lubricants, fatty alcohols, high-density jet fuels and more.The chemical compounds are obtained from petroleum and other fossil fuels, or renewablesources such as corn or sugarcane.
To obtain olefin from coal or natural gas requires several steps. First, either substancemust be converted into synthesis gas, or syngas, which is then made into methanol, whichfinally becomes olefin. Scientists all over the world have been working on simplifying theprocess to increase energy efficiency.
The Shanghai team created a promising new catalyst, cobalt carbide nanoprisms, whichcatalyzes the conversion of syngas with high selectivity for the production of olefins. Theconversion can occur under mild reaction conditions, which means lower temperaturesand pressure. The olefin yield nevertheless remains satisfactory.
In the next step of the project, scientists from the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute will join hands with various companies to realize the industrial application of their catalyst. They will work together to design an apparatus for catalytic amplification, further refining the manufacturing procedure. – Agencies
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