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OCM company Siluria and Braskem to collaborate on conversion of natural gas to ethylene

Siluria Technologies, the developer of a proprietary oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) technology for the catalytic conversion of methane (CH4) to ethylene (C2H4) with high performance at low temperatures (earlier post) and Braskem, a leading producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas, have formed a broad-ranging collaboration around the deployment of Siluria’s technology. Ethylene—a valuable commodity two-carbon chemical that can be oligomerized into transportation fuels—is the most widely produced petrochemical feedstock globally.

In particular, the two companies will conduct a joint feasibility study to identify commercial deployment opportunities of Siluria’s technology at Braskem’s ethylene-consuming plants.

The collaboration also provides for certain non-exclusive technology license options for the world-scale deployment of Siluria’s technology by Braskem, as well as opportunities for Braskem to be a purchaser of ethylene produced from future Siluria plants, and rights for Siluria ownership participation in Braskem commercial projects using OCM technology. The collaboration is in conjunction with the previously announced hosting of Siluria’s OCM demonstration plant by Braskem.

Siluria’s OCM technology provides a novel process for the conversion of methane from natural gas to ethylene and liquid fuels. The flexibility of the technology provides multiple high-value opportunities for the deployment across multiple industry segments. Siluria plans to deploy its OCM technology in a range of commercial settings, including existing ethylene producing plants, at ethylene consuming sites, upstream gas monetization, natural gas midstream plants, as well as world-scale grass roots deployments.

Siluria leverages work done by MIT’s Dr. Angela Belcher on using genetically modified bacteriophages as scaffolds for constructing inorganic materials such as Li-ion cathodes (earlier post) to discover and to optimize novel catalysts for the OCM reaction. Dr. Belcher is a founder of Siluria, and is on the Board of Directors.

The technology’s use of commonly available natural gas as feedstock, compatibility with existing industry operations, as well as its relative simplicity and energy efficiency provide very attractive economics compared to existing ethylene production processes, like ethane and naphtha cracking.

Additionally, the company’s ethylene-to-liquids (ETL) technology packages are designed to provide substantial capital, operating cost and product slate advantages over alternative gas-to-liquids technologies. Siluria’s demonstration plant is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2014.


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