PEP Review IX-3-2
Ethylene from Natural Gas
Published: May 1974
In the Process Economics Program Report (PEP) No. 29 on ethylene, it was reported that some experiments to produce ethylene from carbon monoxide and hydrogen had been carried out in the middle 1950s by S. Tsutsumi as an extension of the well-known Fischer-Tropsch process and that patents had been assigned to Chiyoda Chemical Engineering and Construction Company (22391, 22392) and to Kurashiki Rayon Company (now Kuraray).
The process to produce ethylene from carbon monoxide and hydrogen is of interest because the starting material can be coal, methane, or heavy fuel oils. However, according to recent contacts with the above companies by SRI, no further research has been done since the middle 1950s. The experiments were conducted only in a very small, bench scale apparatus by S. Tsutsumi, who was then a professor at Osaka University. At that time, the gas analysis technique was not fully developed and there seemed to be some doubt as to the reproducibility of the data reported in the above patents. A brief summary of the process shown in PEP Report No. 29 is presented here, as well as an updating of the process economics.