Tech developed by Dow for shale gas nominated for award

By Luke Geiver | September 19, 2017

A new technology designed by the Dow Chemical Co. specifically to utilize shale gas has been named a finalist for the annual R&D 100 awards. The awards are meant to identify and highlight the best new technologies released during the past year. The technology nominated is Dow’s fluidized catalytic dehydrogenation process (FCDh).

The system produces propylene from abundant shale gas resources, according to the company, while enabling a savings of more than 20 percent when compared to other commercial propylene production processes. The technology is flexible and can be added into existing or new ethylene crackers for the purpose of increased production. According to the company, advancing the technology for the commercial sector is a possibility due to favorable interest in the market. The system can be designed to produce an exact amount of propylene desired by a facility operator.

Matt Pretz from Dow, said that shale gas has produced an imbalance in propylene supply and demand balance. “This sudden commercial need drove the implementation of several projects with previously commercialized technology in the propane dehydrogenation market,” he wrote in an abstract titled “Dow Catalytic Dehydrogenation: The Future of on-Purpose Propylene Production.”

Although there were technologies made to overcome the supply and demand balance with propylene, the technologies didn’t overcome the challenges associated with catalyst activity, heat input, reaction equilibrium or gas residence time required during the process.

Dow’s new process, the FCDh, uses a proprietary catalyst with a new reactor and regenerator. The system requires less pressure for operation that other set-ups.