Researchers develop new sustainable process for acetylene and carbon monoxide coproduction

The carbide-based carbon-to-acetylene (C2H2) method offers a straightforward way to convert different carbon sources into acetylene and carbon monoxide. However, the current industrial process relying on calcium carbide (CaC2) faces challenges due to high energy consumption and significant carbon dioxide emissions.

A recent breakthrough by Prof. Zhao Hong and Prof. Jiang Biao’s research team at the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences introduces an innovative approach. They’ve proposed a sustainable process based on the BaCO3-BaC2-Ba(OH)2-BaCO3 barium cycle. This approach not only produces acetylene and carbon monoxide but also captures CO2, all while operating at lower energy consumption and reducing waste emissions.

The key discovery was the efficient solid-phase synthesis of BaC2 at approximately 1,500°C using carbon and BaCO3, emitting no CO2. This is significantly lower than the temperature needed for CaC2 production.

Moreover, Ba(OH)2, generated through the gasification of calcium carbide into acetylene, can be easily transformed into BaCO3 by absorbing CO2. This BaCO3 is then used to synthesize carbide, demonstrating a closed-loop system that minimizes waste.

The results suggest that BaC2 is a more suitable intermediate for the carbon-to-acetylene process compared to CaC2 due to its lower formation temperature, faster reaction rate, and easier barium recovery.

With its cost-effectiveness, reduced waste, and high efficiency in producing acetylene and carbon monoxide, this technology has the potential to replace the conventional method of using CO and H2 generated from carbon gasification to synthesize various chemicals.

Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences

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