Scientists have learned to turn associated gas into alcohol
Currently, a small amount of methane and other light hydrocarbons is usually obtained from associated gas escaping to the surface along with the produced oil. From an economic point of view, for the sake of working with associated gas it is not profitable to build a gas processing plant or to bring a gas pipeline to the field. But an international group of scientists composed of researchers from the Delft Technical University (Netherlands), the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia) and ITMO University (Russia) proposed a simple and cheap way to convert associated gas into liquid substances, which was described on the pages of ACS Catalysis magazine .
After conducting quantum chemical calculations of the reaction of methane oxidation to methanol using the ZSM-5 iron-containing catalyst, scientists were able to identify factors affecting the reaction and were able to construct a more accurate model of the reaction for methane oxidation.
“Often, the properties of catalytic systems are determined not by the static properties of the catalyst, but by dynamic parameters - a change in the geometry of the active center during the reaction, a change in reactivity, interaction with the confined space where the reaction occurs. They are not integral characteristics of a substance, such as formation enthalpy or hardness, and can change during the reaction. Usually, these parameters are ignored, but in our case they have one of the most important values, ”explained the head of the study, professor at the Chemistry and Biology Cluster of ITMO University, and head of the laboratory of inorganic systems at Delft University of Technology Evgeny Pidko.
The discovery will allow researchers to continue to make assumptions about the reaction without additional chemical experiments, based only on calculations. This should simplify the introduction of catalysis in various industries. Scientists have already stated that they intend to study reactions with other catalysts and to continue research on the influence of the reaction conditions for the oxidation of methane to methanol on the course of the reaction.