Methane to ethylene by pulsed compression

Y. Slotboom*, S. Roosjen, A. Kronberg, M. Glushenkov, S. R.A. Kersten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
258 Downloads (Pure)


Pulsed compression is introduced for the conversion of methane, by pyrolysis, into ethylene. At the point of maximal compression temperatures of 900 to 1620 K were reached, while the initial and final temperature of the gas did not exceed 523 K. By the use of a free piston reactor concept pressures of up to 460 bar were measured with nitrogen as a diluting gas. From 1100 K onwards methane conversion was measured. By increasing the temperature, the mechanism of pyrolytic methane conversion, being subsequent production of ethane, ethylene, acetylene, …, benzene, and ultimately tar/soot, was clearly observed. Without hydrogen in the feed, the attainable operating window (C2-selectivity vs. methane conversion) observed was similar to other catalytic oxidative and non-oxidative coupling processes. With hydrogen, in a first attempt to optimize the product yield, 24% C2-yield (62% ethylene selectivity, 93% C2-selectivity) at 26% conversion was reached without producing observable soot. It is worthwhile to explore pulsed compression further because it does not require a catalyst and therefore, does not deactivate over time and it operates at low reactor temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128821
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Ethylene
  • Methane
  • Non-catalytic
  • Non-oxidative
  • Thermal coupling
  • Compression


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