In order to examine the importance of the further oxidation of the desired C2 products in the oxidative coupling of methane, ethylene and ethane have been added to the feed (containing methane and oxygen) to a Li/MgO or Ca/Sm2O3 catalyst. The results of these measurements show that neither of these C2 molecules is stable under these conditions with either of the catalysts. Additionally, the rates of the oxidation of ethane and of ethylene alone have been measured using a gradientless reactor for both catalysts as well as for a quartz bed. It was found that the Ca/Sm2O3 material had higher activities for the oxidation of C2H6 and C2H4 (and also of CH4) than had the Li/MgO material. These higher activities result in a lower optimal reaction temperature for the oxidative coupling of methane and are (at least partially) responsible for the lower selectivity to C2 products observed with the Ca/Sm2O3 catalyst compared to that with the Li/MgO catalyst.
Roos, J. A., Korf, S. J., Veehof, R. H. J., van Ommen, J. G., & Ross, J. R. H. (1989). An investigation of the comparative reactivities of ethane and ethylene in the presence of oxygen over Li/MgO and Ca/Sm2O3 catalysts in relation to the oxidative coupling of methane. Catalysis today, 4(3-4), 441-452. https://doi.org/10.1016/0920-5861(89)85040-0