Propane dehydrogenation (PDH) converts propane into propene and by-product hydrogen. The propene from propane yield is about 85 m%. Reaction by-products (mainly hydrogen) are usually used as fuel for the propane dehydrogenation reaction. As a result, propene tends to be the only product, unless local demand exists for hydrogen. This route is popular in regions, such as the Middle East, where there is an abundance of propane from oil/gas operations. Numerous plants dedicated to propane dehydrogenation are currently under construction around the world.
Dehydrogenation is a chemical reaction that involves the removal of hydrogen from an organic molecule. It is the reverse of hydrogenation. Dehydrogenation is an important reaction because it converts alkanes, which are relatively inert and thus low-valued, to olefins (including alkenes), which are reactive and thus more valuable. Alkenes are precursors to aldehydes, alcohols, polymers, and aromatics. Dehydrogenation processes are used extensively to produce aromatics and styrene in the petrochemical industry. Such processes are highly endothermic and require temperatures of 500 °C and above.
Propane dehydrogenation is of growing importance in the petrochemical industry as end users and producers take advantage of the cheap Propane feedstock that is a by-product of the refining and LNG industries, and converts this to higher value products. There are already five licensed technologies. The propane dehydrogenation process may be accomplished through different commercial technologies. The main differences between each of them concerns the catalyst employed, design of the reactor and strategies to achieve higher conversion rates.
Other uses of dehydrogenation reactions include production of styrene by the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene.