Experimental and modeling investigation of membrane reactor systems for propane dehydrogenation
Choi, Seung Won
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The intensification of paraffin dehydrogenation processes is of increasing importance in the production of olefins, which are important petrochemical feedstocks. In this thesis, I conduct a detailed investigation of membrane reactors for propane dehydrogenation (PDH). PDH is an equilibrium limited endothermic reaction, requiring a high energy supply to the reactor as well as energy-intensive downstream separations of propylene from propane. The membrane reactor is an integrated unit operation combining reactions and membrane permeation, which leads to overcoming the thermodynamic limitations that exist in a conventional PDH reactor. The overall goal is the development and detailed study of PDH reactions in membrane reactor system from both modeling and experimental approaches, which ultimately allows high propane conversion and propylene selectivity for PDH application. I built a detailed model of the packed bed membrane reactor (PBMR) which allowed us to explore the useful operating condition windows for the PBMR and assess the effects of different physical and chemical parameters on PDH conversion and selectivity. These investigations enable us to pursue integration of our experimental data on PDH catalyst kinetics and zeolite membrane transport with our detailed PBMR model incorporating downstream separation.