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Ethylene Conversion into Propylene and Aromatics on HZSM-5: Insights on Reaction Routes and Water Influence


Ethanol is an alternative for producing petrochemicals, especially propylene and aromatics (benzene, toluene, and xylenes). To understand ethanol processing routes into olefins and aromatics, it is interesting to use ethylene that is the major primary product of ethanol reaction into hydrocarbons and the intermediate for the formation of olefins and aromatics. In this work, the influence of the operating conditions (ethylene partial pressure, reaction temperature and contact time) in the ethylene conversion into propylene and aromatics, and in the product yield was investigated using HZSM-5 zeolite as catalyst. Lower contact time and ethylene partial pressure, and higher reaction temperature favored propylene yield. Olefin production was based on the formation of carbene species from ethylene that reacts with ethylene to produce propylene and on ethylene dimerization to form butenes. On the other hand, intermediate reaction temperatures and contact times, and higher ethylene partial pressure promote the formation of aromatics, where the dehydrocyclization reaction is favored over hydrogen transfer. The presence of water vapor in long-term reactions deactivated the catalyst. For propylene production, the decrease of ethylene conversion was due to zeolite framework dealumination, while for aromatic formation the reaction mechanism was changed.

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Débora S. Fernandes thanks CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brazil – Finance Code 001) for M.Sc. scholarship and financial support. Cristiane A. Henriques thanks CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) and Prociencia program (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) for her research scholarship and financial support.

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Correspondence to Cristiane A. Henriques.

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Fernandes, D.S., Veloso, C.O. & Henriques, C.A. Ethylene Conversion into Propylene and Aromatics on HZSM-5: Insights on Reaction Routes and Water Influence. Catal Lett 150, 738–752 (2020).

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  • Ethylene
  • Propylene
  • Aromatics
  • Zeolites
  • Mechanism
  • Deactivation