Catalysis Today, Vol.171, No.1, 15-23, 2011
Direct methane conversion routes to chemicals and fuels
This paper addresses the options developed over the past two decades for the conversion of methane into valuable chemicals and fuels while avoiding the high energy requirements of the steam reforming process for producing H(2)/CO mixtures. Several aspects of the approaches undertaken accordingly are briefly examined here. Each option has its own set of limitations. Nonetheless, the cost-effective separation of useful products is a common denominator across the board in these processes, with the other most important issue being the separation of oxygen from air, requiring C-H bond activation by oxygen. The widespread use of methane for producing fuels and chemicals appears to be within reach, but current economic uncertainties limit both the amount of research activity and the implementation of emerging technologies, although the extensive use of methane for the production of fuels and chemicals is expected to become a reality very soon. (C) 2011 Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved.