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Process

Learn about how our process fits into industry, and how our catalyst materials are produced and continuously improved.


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Siluria's scalable OCM process technology is designed to produce drop-in fuels and chemicals from a virtually endless supply of methane. Our catalyst materials make this process technology possible.
At the heart of Siluria's catalyst-development workflow are unique nano-structures inspired by nature. We have combined three highly innovative technologies to create our growing family of commercially viable OCM catalysts.
ABUNDANT SOURCES OF METHANE
Methane (CH4) is one of the simplest organic compounds and most abundant substances found in nature. It is the principal component of natural gas, and is also produced from renewable sources including animal waste, dedicated energy crops, and landfills.
As the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently published, "While the world's natural gas endowment is known to be very large…global resources could be larger than currently estimated."
The figure below was produced by the IEA, and shows that natural gas production in most of the world over the next decade will grow dramatically, and growth will be even more substantial in the fifteen years after that.

Renewable sources of methane are also globally abundant. In the United States for example, there is enough economically recoverable methane from landfills, animal waste and sewage alone to produce approximately 10 billion gallons of gasoline every year.*

This abundance of methane translates into much lower costs, enabling the production of lower-cost fuels, chemicals, and materials.
* Biogas For Transportation Use: A 1998 Perspective," July 9, 1998, QSS Group Inc.
COMMERCIALLY VIABLE OCM CATALYST AND PROCESS
Today, complex molecules that comprise crude oil are literally cracked into the products we use by applying huge amounts of energy. Siluria's oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) technology couples simple methane molecules into useful products.

The OCM reaction has attracted significant interest from researchers around the world for three decades, but these past efforts have yet to result in an economically viable process.

In contrast to steam cracking, Siluria's technology is a catalytic process. Our family of OCM catalyst systems enables the use of conventional processes and proven reactor designs, forming the foundation of a scalable and commercially viable process technology.

By coupling instead of cracking, Siluria's industry-compatible process technology actually produces useful energy rather than consuming it, dramatically reducing both economic and environmental costs.
 
DROP-IN MATERIALS*, FUELS & CHEMICALS
Siluria's process technology enables economical and low-carbon production of a wide range of products comprising a multi-trillion dollar addressable market. By directly converting methane into the same highly flexible intermediate (ethylene) that forms the backbone of today's petrochemical industry, we can take advantage of existing technology and infrastructure to turn ethylene into lower-cost fuels, chemicals, and materials.

The results are not substitutes or imitations of today's products, but are instead molecularly indistinguishable fuels, chemicals and materials made from lower cost raw materials with a lower-carbon process.
HIGH THROUGHPUT SCREENING FOR OCM
Traditional catalyst discovery is a relatively slow process - typically with one catalyst per reactor tested every two days. With tens of thousands of potential catalysts produced in our nanowire library, the traditional approach would take decades.

Instead, Siluria has deployed unique high-throughput screening tools allowing us to screen hundreds of catalysts in the same amount of time. These tools allow us to measure the performance of these catalysts directly in the reaction of interest.

By combing high-throughput screening with our bio-templating and nanowire synthetic technology, we are able to quickly gather information about the best performing catalysts, learn from that knowledge, and iterate, thereby continuously expanding and improving our catalyst library.
BIOMATERIAL TEMPLATING
The first step in the workflow starts with the natural growth of biological templates. The templates are used as a seed layer to grow nanowire catalysts of inorganic materials.

Developed by Siluria's scientific founder and MIT professor Dr. Angela Belcher, biomaterial templating enables the surface engineering of catalyst nanowires.

Our ability to rapidly produce a diverse collection of templates provides a library from which a vast number of novel nanowire structures can be produced.
NANOWIRE CATALYST SYNTHESIS
After synthesis is complete, the biological template is burned away, leaving behind a highly stable inorganic nanowire with structural and surface properties influenced by the biological template. The resulting nanowires are easily replicable and readily scalable.

Siluria's nanowires are crystalline inorganic structures with high surface area. The nanowire catalysts are formed into self-supporting extended networks that resemble a bird's nest. This unique structure is highly porous and provides an ideal catalytic surface.


* Materials are 100% compatible with existing recycling infrastructure.

   
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