Siluria Technologies and Air Liquide partner to develop and deliver novel catalytic process technologies to global energy markets
Siluria Technologies has entered into a strategic partnership with Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions, the engineering and construction business of the Air Liquide Group, to collaborate on the development of novel catalytic processes utilizing both companies’ expertise in gas conversion technologies.
The novel process offering will be developed using the proven innovation platform that has given rise to Siluria’s revolutionary Oxidative Coupling of Methane (OCM) technology (earlier post), but will be focused on entirely new fields beyond the companies’ current product offerings. Siluria and Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions have agreed to work as partners in the commercialization—including marketing and licensing—of the jointly developed process technologies resulting from the collaboration.
As part of the agreement to collaborate on novel process technologies, Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions has invested in Siluria’s Series E financing.
Siluria’s first novel technology enables the direct conversion of natural gas to ethylene via the Oxidative Coupling of Methane. In the OCM reaction, methane (CH4) is activated on the catalyst surface, forming methyl free radicals (CH3) which then couple in the gas phase to form ethane (C2H6). The ethane subsequently undergoes dehydrogenation to form ethylene and water.
This technology also provides the industry’s first and only solution of small-scale on-purpose and distributed scale ethylene production. Siluria is currently focused on commercial projects in the Refining and Midstream industries, and a pipeline of licensing projects in petrochemicals.
Siluria’s catalyst synthesis process uses proteins on the surface of a genetically modified bacteriophage as nucleation sites for growing nanoscale wires of catalyst material. By growing the catalyst nanowires on an engineered biological template, Siluria is able to access crystal structures and surface morphologies not formed through conventional crystallization of the material. The novel crystal structures, in turn, give rise to catalyst active sites with unique properties that are critical to achieve the selectivity and yield required for an economically viable OCM process.
Siluria’s second process technology can convert ethylene to liquid (ETL) fuels, such as gasoline, diesel or jet fuel. (Earlier post.)
In the ETL process, the OCM ethylene effluent is oligomerized over a catalyst (different than the OCM catalyst) to produce selectively targeted products, such as gasoline, condensate, aromatics, heavy oil diluents or distillates including diesel or jet fuel.
Siluria’s ETL catalyst development strategy has leveraged decades-old commercial alkene oligomerization catalyst experience and practice. Through catalyst formulation and process condition optimization, Siluria’s ETL processes are robust and have extremely high ethylene conversion and product selectivity. The ETL process is being developed in a large-scale integrated pilot reactor system located in Siluria’s Hayward, California facility.
Compared to Siluria’s OCM + ETL process differs substantially from other Gas to Liquid (GTL) processes, such as Fischer-Tropsch (FT) and Methanol to Gasoline (MTG). Siluria’s OCM+ETL process does not go through any syngas intermediates as do FT or MTG. Converting syngas into hydrocarbon products result in a broad product distribution ranging typically from C1 to C40, necessitating significant additional refining/separations and energy input.
Using ethylene as an intermediate in place of syngas allows for very targeted production of a specific narrow product slate. The result is a simpler process, lower capital costs and more flexibility in term of scale, Siluria says.
Both the OCM and ETL processes enable natural gas to supplement petroleum as the worldwide basis for transportation fuels and commodity chemicals.