Feb 7, 2008
Dow Chemical recently announced that academic teams led by Northwestern University and Cardiff University, Wales were selected for $6.4 million in grants over 3 years to fund research on the direct conversion of methane to olefins and olefin precursors. Currently, these compounds are made via the syngas (CO+H2) route. The need to utilize stranded gas reserves and provide alternate sources of petrochemical precursors drives this research. Methane is a tough nut to crack, because of the stability provided by the C-H bonds. Low temperature methane oxidation is therefore considered a "grand challenge".