Research Highlights Details

Novel Routes for the Production of Linear Alpha Olefins

Linear α-olefins (LAOs) are valuable commodity chemicals used as precursors in many areas of the industry, including detergents, synthetic lubricants, and plasticizer alcohols. LAOs are also used as co-monomers to produce linear low-density polyethylene to enhance the physical properties of the polymer. Polyethylene resins based on 1-hexene and 1-octene are more attractive due to their superior properties, such as stress-crack and tear resistance. Traditionally, LAOs have been produced via non-selective ethylene oligomerization. Due to the high demand for pure fractions of specific LAOs (typically 1-hexene or 1-octene), selective ethylene oligomerization catalysts have been targeted for use on an industrial scale. The ongoing project focuses on developing novel catalysts for the ethylene tetramerization reaction that will permit the on-purpose production of 1-octene. The team has developed several highly efficient novel catalytic systems with high productivity and selectivity and sent these catalysts to Saudi Aramco for further analysis in a scale-up reactor.