Ina Vollmer


Van der Maasweg 9, 2629 HZ Delft 
Room E2.360
Tel: *31 (0) 15 27 82108

A holistic Reaction Engineering Approach to the Dehydroaromatization of Methane

A promising approach for the production of aromatics is the dehydroaromatization of methane to benzene (Equation 1). This reaction is being discussed in the literature for 20 years now but no large-scale application has been realized so far [1, 2]. The most promising catalyst so far is a Mo/HZSM-5, molybdenum impregnated on an MFI type zeolite. A bifunctional synergy of this catalyst is suggested, the mechanism of which is not fully understood.

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Therefore the detailed reaction pathway is explored. Key intermediates of the two step mechanism are to be identified, the role of diffusion explored and routes to coke formation uncovered. This is crucial for designing the most active catalyst and for devising regeneration strategies, the final goal of which is a comprehensive reactor design for this extremely thermodynamically limited reaction. 

Among other reactor concepts, a catalytic membrane reactor is considered, which entails the investigation of suitable membranes. One of the membranes under study is the zeolite membrane of chabazite type SSZ-13, which has shown to be able to separate H2 from CH4/H2 mixtures with high permeance (e.g., ~10-6 mol/s/m2/Pa) and selectivity (separation factor = 20-60). 

  1. Ma, S., et al., Recent progress in methane dehydroaromatization: From laboratory curiosities to promising technology. Journal of Energy Chemistry, 2013. 22(1): p. 1-20.
  2. Spivey, J.J. and G. Hutchings, Catalytic aromatization of methane. Chemical Society Reviews, 2014. 43(3): p. 792-803.


This is a CHIPP project funded in the New Chemicals Innovations (NCI) framework in collaboration with TU Eindhoven and SABIC chemical manufacturing company.