High-Yield Process for Selectively Converting CO2 to Aromatics and Olefins

Period of Performance: 01/01/2005 - 12/31/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Eltron Research, Inc.
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


This proposed Phase I addresses the selective conversion of CO2 to hydrocarbons via integrated CO2-to-methanol, methanol-to-olefins, and olefins-to-aromatics processes. Existing pathways to olefins and aromatics via methane exhibit low per-pass conversion. Fischer-Tropsch synthesis can provide much higher conversion, but into a broad spectrum of products. In contrast, it is possible to achieve high conversion and selectivity to specific olefins and aromatics via the proposed methanol pathway, with minimal net hydrogen consumption. Interest stems from in situ resources utilization (ISRU) of planetary (e.g., Martian) resources to reduce mission weight and cost with enhanced safety. Olefins and aromatics are attractive target species because of their high hydrogen leverage as well as their potential utility as fuels and feedstocks for polymers or other chemicals. Phase I will consist of the following: 1) identify, prepare, and characterize the best potential catalysts for principal process stages; 2) test catalysts under representative conditions; 3) identify the best route for converting CO2 to olefins and aromatics; and 4) estimate potential performance of an integrated system. During Phase II each process stage will be optimized, the stages integrated, and a working breadboard system designed and fabricated.