Performance of a composite palladium membrane reactor for the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene to styrene
Enekwizu, Ogochukwu Yvonne 1987-
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The dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene to styrene is explored in a membrane reactor under conditions of hydrogen permeate evacuation. Under typical reaction conditions of high temperature and low pressure, moderate to high conversion and selectivity to styrene are obtained. The employment of a palladium membrane in the reaction system boosts hydrogen product removal thus leading to higher conversions. However, a limited amount of literature exists on experimental results obtained from investigations of ethylbenzene dehydrogenation in composite palladium membrane reactors. In this study, defect free composite palladium membranes which exhibit good flux behavior at temperatures for ethylbenzene dehydrogenation were synthesized. The membrane reactor was operated in a narrow temperature range characterized by relatively fast kinetics and limited by-product formation. There were, however, several unanticipated difficulties associated with the membrane system which included unfavorable interaction between the palladium surface and reaction species, by-product formation and limited driving force for permeate evacuation. These challenges were further exacerbated when the system was run at elevated pressures. The findings underscore the need for a detailed analysis of the surface chemistry during reaction conditions to gain an understanding of the interactions that persist between the reactant atmosphere and the palladium membrane.