Bio-Empowered Oxidative Coupling of Methane (OCM) Process

Publishable summary: 

The key objectives of BIOCM project is to design and provide a proof of concept for an Oxidative Coupling of Methane (OCM) process which efficiently converts the biogas produced from the treatment of waste streams into ethylene. Industrial effluents from the production of bioethanol, biodiesel, and dairy products, are to be treated through anaerobic digestion for environmental compliance and biogas production. The compatibility of the OCM catalyst with the biogas composition is to be addressed, allowing the identification of suitable biogas pretreatments and eventual catalyst modifications to better suit this application. An adsorbent synthetized from biobased materials is to be produced in laboratory and miniplant scale and applied to carry the gas separations in the downstream of the OCM reactor.

The steps of the BIOCM process, e.g. carbon dioxide capture, are also to be experimentally investigated, allowing for the development of a full model for a commercial scale BIOCM plant. This is later to be extended to allow for its integration with other conversion technologies, e.g. biogas reforming and combined heat and power, allowing gains in terms of energy and material integration and for the production of a wider variety of products within a biorefinery framework. The different process structures are to be subjected to Life Cycle Assessments, ensuring that the proposed solutions are sustainable.

A conceptual design for a commercial scale BIOCM process, which can be applied industrially under different market and regional specific conditions, will be one of the main results of this project. It is also expected that the project will catalyze the appearance of more research fields of biogas to chemicals, which is an area that should be further explored.