Olefin Production by Oxidative Dehydrogenation

Olefin production is important for a number of products such as wallpaper, carpeting, and ropes. An efficient catalyst for production would drastically affect the associated industries.

The Need

Olefins are important precursor compounds used throughout industrial chemical syntheses. The direct conversion of lower alkanes to their respective unsaturated alkenes has the potential to impact the chemical industry in a major way. While the oxidative dehydrogenation of alkanes shows promise, efforts to improve conversion rate and selectivity are required for the technology to influence the chemical industry.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Umit Ozkan, have developed a catalyst for the oxidative dehydrogenation of lower alkanes to olefins. Vanadium/molybdenum promoted by group IA alkali metals make up the bulk of the catalyst. Silica-titania supports are used to prepare the catalysts as they provide strong metal-support interactions and effectively disperse small particles thus increasing catalyst surface area and reactivity.

Commercial Applications

  • Catalysts: chemical, petrochemical, dehydrogenation, and petroleum refining processes
  • Production: rope, carpeting, wallpaper, and vehicle interiors


  • Improved conversion rate and selectivity
  • Propylene and propane yields of 30% and 5%-10%, respectively

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