As an abundant, versatile, and cleaner resource, natural gas is underutilized for high-value chemicals production. Herein, single-step natural gas conversion technologies that directly produce aromatics and hydrogen from methane are studied. Yet, methane aromatization (MA) is challenging due to low conversion and rapid catalyst deactivation. Accordingly, a reactor model based on thermodynamic equilibrium that allows systematic evaluation of key process variables (e.g., conversion temperature, conversion pressure, and H2 removal) is developed. Then, process synthesis and modeling are utilized to assess the economic viability and identify the key technology gaps for various MA technology alternatives. The results of the analyses indicate that conversion temperature and H2 removal have large impacts on aromatics one-pass yield and coke formation. The combined conversion conditions, which lead to a minimum 20% aromatics one-pass yield, are likely required for an economically feasible MA process. In addition, lower conversion temperature (<700 °C) is favorable to maintain coke formation less than 20%. The analysis suggests that further efforts should be devoted to reduce overall capital cost and expand production scale.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- methane aromatization
- process synthesis
- surrogate models
- technoeconomic analysis