New disruptive process for propylene production from Propane DeHydrogenation (PDH) by means of Catalytic Membrane Reactor (CMR) concept

  • 25/04/2023

Propylene is the second most produced derivative in petrochemical industry and is expected to have significant demand growth in the coming years. It is currently mostly produced from light oil fractions as a by-product through steam cracking and fluid catalytic cracking, but several new “on purpose” processes recently appeared on the market. Among these novel technologies, the propane dehydrogenation (PDH) is one of the most interesting ones and is currently available on the market through few patented processes.

The disruptive peculiarity of the novel technology is the use of the Catalytic Membrane Reactor (CMR) concept, combining catalytic reaction and corresponding separation elements in a single highly efficient unit.

Such concept can be applied for a wide range of capacity, even if, due to the combination of catalyst and membranes in a common equipment, it is mostly suitable for distributed propylene production with a reduced throughput.

Compared to the traditional PDH process, the continuous separation of the produced hydrogen in the CMR shifts the Le Châtelier equilibrium, so allowing to operate at lower temperature, leading to lower propane conversion but higher selectivity, and most of all to lower catalyst deactivation caused by coke formation on it.

The increased selectivity, dramatically reducing catalyst deactivation and impacting downstream product separation, allows reducing greenhouse gas emissions of large volume industrial process by up to 45% and increasing resource and energy efficiency by up to 70%.

The novel technology is being developed in the framework of the EU-funded MACBETH project, enjoying of the collaboration of several different Entities (small and medium-large industry, university), each working on a specific topic (catalyst and membranes development, design, testing, modelling), and of the cross-fertilization from previous European projects, so deploying the advantages of different experiences.


For more information contact our partner KT – Kinetics Technology S.p.A directly: or KT – Kinetics Technology: Über uns | LinkedIn.