An efficient and economic process to convert natural gas into ethylene is being developed by Siluria Technologies. Siluria is working on a proprietary catalytic process for the direct conversion of natural gas into ethylene. It's success will enable a novel, economically attractive pathway to produce existing chemicals and fuels as well as save raw material and operation costs.
The company aims to convert methane, the principal component of natural gas, directly into ethylene, as compared with the existing process of producing ethylene via steam cracking. The conventional process is a mature technology that consumes more energy than any other chemical process, uses valuable oil resources, and is the largest contributor to greenhouse emissions in the chemical industry.
The catalyst synthesis technology is based on the innovative discoveries of MIT Professor and Siluria founder, Dr. Angela Belcher. Dr. Belcher's synthetic technology produces inorganic materials in the same way nature makes them: with a bottom-up, versus a conventional, top-down synthetic approach. Siluria's technology application is to grow nanowire catalysts with unique surfaces, structures and shapes. This synthetic approach offers improved ways to manipulate catalyst surfaces. Novel surfaces have the potential for improving catalyst performance in structure-sensitive reactions. Under license from MIT, Siluria is developing catalysts that are robust, stable at high temperature, and compatible with the existing petrochemical industry infrastructure. The idea that varying DNA sequence information can be used to optimize the properties of catalysts for a billion pound pa chemical process illustrates a profound connection between biology and the inorganic world