Development and Scale up of Tunable Alumina Support for Ethylene Purification Catalyst
Ethylene is arguably the most important organic molecule in the chemical industry. As a feedstock for a variety of polymers, the purity of ethylene delivered from steam crackers is critical for successful processes downstream. Therefore, components such as acetylene need to be removed from the ethylene stream via the front or tail end processes. A brief description of this technology and the catalyst used for this process will be discussed, in particular, the development and scale up of an alumina support for the application.
Alumina is an important support for many catalysts. Particularly, catalysts that are used for chemicals production utilize the high strength, tunable surface area, and low activity that low surface area aluminas can provide. However, the development and scale-up of supports with all these advantages can be complex and difficult. The stringent activity and mass transport limitations of the tail end process required a low density, strong, and cheap support with a tunable bimodal pore size distribution. Thus the development of the extruded alumina support relied upon perseverance and a step back to fundamentals to deliver success at the commercial scale.