Development of Iron-based Catalyst for Isobutane Dehydrogenation to Isobutylene

  • Faisal Alahmadi

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Abstract: Isobutylene is a high demand chemical that contributes to the production of fuel, plastic, and rubbers. It is produced industrially by different processes, as a byproduct of steam cracking of naphtha or a fluidized catalytic cracking or by isobutane dehydrogenation. Catalytic dehydrogenation of isobutane is in increasing importance because of the growing demand for isobutylene and the better economic advantage compared to other isobutylene production processes. Isobutane dehydrogenation is an endothermic reaction and to achieve good yields; it is preferred to work at higher temperatures. At these temperatures, carbon deposition leads to catalyst deactivation, which requires the catalyst to be regenerated on a frequent basis. Most of the current processes to produce isobutylene use either expensive platinum-based metal or toxic chromium-based catalysis. Hence, there is a demand to search for alternative catalysts that are a relatively cheap and non-toxic. To achieve this goal, Zirconia-supported Iron catalysts were prepared. To study the effect of active phase distribution, different iron loadings were tested for impregnation (3% to 10%) and co-precipitation (10%-20%). The catalysts show promising results that can achieve an isobutylene selectivity and yield of 91% and 31%, respectively, with isobutane conversion of 35%.
    Date of AwardJul 2020
    Original languageEnglish (US)
    SupervisorJorge Gascon (Supervisor)


    • Isobutane dehydrogenation
    • Iron based catalyst
    • Isobutylene production
    • Co-precipitation
    • Incipient wetness impregnation
    • MTBE

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