A multi-perspectives analysis of the potentials, challenges and characteristics of possible future industrial-scale ethylene production via Oxidative Coupling of Methane (OCM) process was performed in this research. In doing so, miniplant-scale experimental data were utilized to scale-up, predict and represent the performance of the unit operations in the industrial-scale operation of a reference stand-alone and two different integrated OCM process configuration, each with an assumed capacity of one million tons per year ethylene production. Technical, environmental and economic performance of these alternative OCM processes were analyzed and compared using Aspen Plus simulations and Aspen Process Economic Analyzer. The assumptions and the conceptual conclusions made in the analysis are also discussed in this paper. The technologies and the costs associated with conditioning the methane feed stream originated from natural gas or biogas were compared and their impacts, through reducing the resulted price of methane-feed, on the economy of the OCM process are discussed. Moreover, the integration potentials of the OCM process with the ethane dehydrogenation process and the clear impacts of the resulted increase in the ethylene production on the whole process economy are also considered in this paper. The feasibility and the specifications of the selected integrated OCM process configuration, providing the fastest return of investments around 9.5 year, are discussed in this paper. The economic and environmental performance indicators of this integrated process along with the potentials and some suggestions for further improving its performance are also highlighted in this paper.
- Biogas upgrading
- Downstream units
- Ethane dehydrogenation
- Miniplant-scale experimentation
- Oxidative coupling of methane process
- Techno-economic analysis