Small 2019 Apr 17:e1900058. Epub 2019 Apr 17.
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, 4 Engineering Drive 4, Singapore, 117585, Singapore.
As primary feedstocks in the petrochemical industry, light olefins such as ethylene and propylene are mainly obtained from steam cracking of naphtha and short chain alkanes (ethane and propane). Due to their similar physical properties, the separations of olefins and paraffins-pivotal processes to meet the olefin purity requirement of downstream processing-are typically performed by highly energy-intensive cryogenic distillation at low temperatures and high pressures. To reduce the energy input and save costs, adsorptive olefin/paraffin separations have been proposed as promising techniques to complement or even replace cryogenic distillation, and growing efforts have been devoted to developing advanced adsorbents to fulfill this challenging task. In this Review, a holistic view of olefin/paraffin separations is first provided by summarizing how different processes have been established to leverage the differences between olefins and paraffins for effective separations. Subsequently, recent advances in the development of porous materials for adsorptive olefin/paraffin separations are highlighted with an emphasis on different separation mechanisms. Last, a perspective on possible directions to push the limit of the research in this field is presented.