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    Home > Chemicals Industry > China Chemical > Electrochemistry ushered in a new opportunity for ethylene oxide and propylene oxide!

    Electrochemistry ushered in a new opportunity for ethylene oxide and propylene oxide!

    • Last Update: 2022-02-26
    • Source: Internet
    • Author: User
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    Recently, in the latest issue of Science, Leow et al.
    published the latest research results under the title "Chloride-mediated selective electrosynthesis of ethylene and propylene oxides at high current density" and proposed ethylene oxide (EO) and propylene oxide.
    The electrochemical route of (PO) realizes the characteristics of cleaner, more efficient and more selective synthesis process


    In this research work, under industrial current density, ethylene and propylene can be electrochemically oxidized to ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, respectively, and the Faraday selection efficiency is about 70%
    In response to this research, John L.
    Barton published an opinion article "Electrification of the chemical industry" in the same issue and commented on the work


    Leow et al.
    combined the flow battery and the ethylene oxide synthesis reaction to achieve C2H2+H2O→C2H2O+H2 (see Figure 1)

    Two electrochemical reactions drive this reaction.
    The precipitation of chlorine occurs at the anode 2Cl-→2e-+Cl2, and the precipitation of hydrogen occurs at the cathode 2H2O+2e-→H2+2OH-

    These reactions are not particularly novel and interesting, but the innovation lies in the coupling of these two simple reactions with the subsequent three homogeneous chemical reactions


    The dissolved chlorine in the anode solution is decomposed into hydrochloric acid and hypochlorous acid (HCl and HOCl, respectively)
    The latter reacts with ethylene to produce 1-chloro-2-hydroxyethane (HOCH2CH2Cl), or ethylene chlorohydrin

    The cathode solution is rich in hydroxides during the hydrogen precipitation process

    When the anode aqueous ethylene chlorohydrin solution is mixed with the alkaline cathode solution, ethylene oxide and chloride ions are generated

    A similar route can also be used to produce propylene oxide from propylene


    The energy intensity can be reduced through battery design (for example, changing the flow rate or electrode thickness), but the pairing of electrochemical reactions (Cl2 and H2) is unlikely to reduce the energy intensity below the chlor-alkali process because it is proportional to the battery voltage
    In order to significantly improve energy requirements, electrochemical processes need to be changed to reduce battery voltage

    In addition to the analysis in this article, there are some more subtle advantages, such as reduced water consumption


    Although Leow et al.
    reported that this particular process is unlikely to be the next main production route for ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, the development of production processes that replace commercial chemicals, especially the introduction of renewable energy, is more important to achieve.
    Green production is necessary


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