ChBE Seminar: Resolving Thermodynamic and Kinetic Barriers in Non-oxidative Methane Conversion

Tuesday, September 21, 2021
11:00 a.m.
0408 ANS (Animal Sciences)
Taylor Woehl

Speaker: Dongxia Liu, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Maryland College Park

Title:  Resolving Thermodynamic and Kinetic Barriers in Non-oxidative Methane Conversion by Reactor Innovation 


Methane, the main constituent of natural gas and biogas, is deemed to be an alternative source to replace crude oil to produce chemicals and fuels. Direct non-oxidative methane conversion (NMC) has been recognized as a single-step technology that directly convert methane to olefins and higher hydrocarbons. Low methane conversion, high energy input and low catalyst durability, due to endothermic reaction nature and coke formation, are main challenges. In this talk, I would like to highlight our recent innovations in membrane and catalytic wall reactors that solve the thermodynamic and kinetic challenges in NMC to achieve high methane conversion, high hydrocarbon yield, negligible coke formation and system’s long-term stability. These consequences originate from the removal of hydrogen co-product from NMC by hydrogen separation membranes to right shift the reaction towards high conversion. The elimination of coke formation achieved via design of short-contact time catalytic wall reactor which enables methane activation and suppresses the following secondary and following on reaction steps. A process simulation using Aspen Plus indicate the great economic viability of the NMC operation in either membrane or catalytic wall reactors for practical industrial applications.


Dongxia Liu obtained her B.S. degree in Chemistry major from Shandong University in China in 2000. She won her M.S. degree from Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2003. In 2009, she received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from University of Rochester. Her PhD work focused on Development of Novel Electrolyte Membranes for Intermediate Temperature Fuel Cells. After graduation, she did 2 years of post-doctorate in University of Minnesota with Prof. Michael Tsapatsis and Prof. Aditya Bhan, focusing on the synthesis and characterization of novel meso-/microporous zeolite catalysts. In 2012, Dongxia Liu joined the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Maryland (UMD) as an assistant professor and was promoted to an associate professor in 2018.

Dongxia is leading the Catalysis and Materials Synthesis Lab at UMD, targeting for controlling composition and constitution of nanostructured materials for membrane and catalyst technologies to address the challenging issues in renewable energy and chemical production, fuel conversion, sustainable water supply, and environmental remedy. She has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and 5 issued/pending patents on these topics and served on the program and organizing committees of various international workshops and conferences. Dongxia has a consistent record of excellence at UMD that includes winning the UMD’s Faculty-Student Research Award (FSRA) awards (2021 and 2013), Junior Faculty Outstanding Research Award in A. James Clark School of Engineering at UMD (2020), and the NSF CAREER award (2013).

Audience: Campus 

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