New Avenues in Ethylene Synthesis

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Science  30 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5428, pp. 670-671
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5428.670

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Ethylene is one of the largest volume chemical intermediates in the chemical industry, with growth driven by the poylethylene market. Large scale synthesis routes exist, but as Bodke et al. show on page 712, new reactor designs and catalytic mixtures may become competitive by synthesizing the chemical more efficiently. Scale-up of the synthesis from the laboratory scale to the industrial scale will depend on whether technical hurdles--such as process safety-- as well as business hurdles can be overcome. The approach used by Bodke et al. may also be applied to the synthesis of other chemicals.