Catalytic Oxidative Cracking of Light Alkanes to Alkenes

Cassia Boyadjian* (Corresponding Author), Leon Lefferts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


A review on the catalytic oxidative cracking of light alkanes to alkenes is presented as an alternative route to steam cracking for production of alkenes. Catalytic oxidative cracking is a combination of heterogeneous and homogeneous reactions; the reaction is initiated on the catalyst surface followed by thermal gas phase cracking. The review focuses on the catalytic generation of alkyl radicals at moderate temperatures (550–650 °C) using the Li/MgO system. Comparison with other catalyst systems such as Li/Y2O3, Au/La2O3, Au-SCZ, BiOCl, B2O3/Al2O3, Co-N/Al2O3 and Pt/Al2O3 monoliths is included. Gold supported on sulfated ceria-zirconia catalyst (Au-SCZ) is concluded to be a promising catalyst for further study. In addition to catalytic initiation of radicals, the review discusses alkyl generation using non-equilibrium plasma. Plasma-catalysis in oxidative cracking induces synergy effects and introduces significant improvement in yields of alkenes; however, further understanding of plasma chemistry needs to be elaborated. Minimizing CO2 production and maximizing yields of valuable C2–C4 alkenes remains the bottleneck for the commercialization of oxidative cracking process. Future research should focus on reactor design and on developing optimized reactor-catalyst systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1956-1968
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean journal of inorganic chemistry
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2018


  • Alkanes
  • Alkenes
  • Au-SCZ
  • Cracking
  • Li/MgO
  • Oxidation


Dive into the research topics of 'Catalytic Oxidative Cracking of Light Alkanes to Alkenes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this