546133 High Octane Fuels from Natural Gas - Opportunities and Challenges in the Production of 2,2,3-Trimethylbutane over Cu/BEA Catalysts

Tuesday, June 4, 2019: 5:12 PM
Texas Ballroom EF (Grand Hyatt San Antonio)
Jesse E. Hensley1, Stephane Marie-Rose2, Earl Christensen3, Lisa Fouts3, Jon Luecke3, Daniel A. Ruddy1, Connor Nash1 and Joshua A. Schaidle1, (1)National Bioenergy Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, (2)Enerkem, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada, (3)Transportation Technologies, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

The homologation of dimethyl ether (DME) over catalysts like copper on beta zeolite (Cu/BEA) opens a potential new market for natural gas by enabling the production of non-aromatic high-octane gasoline blendstocks like 2,2,3-trimethylbutane (triptane, research octane value 112), for which there is significant demand. Recent bench- and pilot-scale studies have shown that selectivity to high octane hydrocarbons depends critically on operating conditions, catalyst age since activation/reactivation, H2 cofeed, catalyst porosity, and catalyst binder. The product “crude,” consisting of C5-C12 paraffins and cycloparaffins, can be fractionated to cuts with as much as 85 wt% triptane, but high-purity triptane cannot be accessed due to the presence of other C6-C8 isomers. In this presentation, we will highlight some successes in producing gallon quantities of high-octane gasoline blendstock, as well as fundamental catalysis challenges in improving product quality further. We will also extend the analysis of the high-octane blendstocks to their properties in gasoline blends and their potential to improve the octane-enhancing properties of ethanol, reduce particulate emissions, replace lead additives in aviation gasoline, and increase energy density in racing fuel. Finally, we will provide value propositions for natural gas producers, methanol/DME producers, and refiners, who can leverage the Cu/BEA technology to access new markets, increase domestic production, and realize higher margins in the sale of premium gasoline.

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