Enhanced Methanol-to-Olefin Process for Producing Light Olefins

Tech ID: 19-040

Inventors: Dr. Thomas Degnan, Dr. William Schneider, Dr. Jason Hicks

Date Added: August 12, 2019 

19 040


A new chemical process that enhances existing methanol-to-olefins (MTO) processes to increase the yield of valuable olefins.

Technology Summary

Decreased demand for methanol and higher oil prices have encouraged the development of the methanol-to-olefins (MTO) conversion process to provide an alternative to steam cracking for olefin production. MTO is currently only operational in China largely due to economic hurdles. Dr. Degnan, Dr. Hicks, and Dr. Schneider have applied a novel technique to MTO to enhance the yield of olefins (ethylene and propylene) and reduce energy consumption in the process. The proposed enhancement could improve the economic feasibility of converting methanol to ethylene and propylene and builds on existing processes. 

Market Advantages 

  • Higher Yield: Increases olefin yield 
  • Inexpensive installation (~$4M) and upkeep (~$10M  yearly on utilities) relative to industry costs (total investment for an MTO plant being $700+ million)
  • Can be retrofitted onto existing plant
  • Optimize Product Output: Allows tailorability of product yield (ethylene to propylene ratio can be adjusted)

Technology Readiness Status

TRL 2 - Technology Concept 


Richard Cox