Catalysis Letters

, Volume 146, Issue 4, pp 744–754 | Cite as

Halogen-Mediated Oxidative Dehydrogenation of Propane Using Iodine or Molten Lithium Iodide

  • D. Chester Upham
  • Michael J. Gordon
  • Horia Metiu
  • Eric W. McFarland


We studied propylene production by the reaction of propane with oxygen in the presence of gaseous I2 which works as a gas-phase catalyst. I2 is either introduced as a gas in the mixture of propane and oxygen, or it is produced when propane and oxygen come in contact with molten LiI or a mixture of molten LiI and LiOH. The single-pass propylene yields obtained in both types of experiments are ~64%, at 500 °C and propane partial pressure of 0.1 atm. The main role of I2 is to initiate chain reactions that lead to the formation of a propyl iodide intermediate that decomposes to form propylene. Another important intermediate is HI, which reacts very rapidly with oxygen to regenerate I2 and prevent oxygen from attacking the hydrocarbons.

Graphical Abstract


Oxidative dehydrogenation Propane Molten salt Iodine LiI LiOH Halogen 



This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science Basic Energy Sciences Grant number DE-FG03-89ER14048. We are very grateful to Dr. Henrik Kristoffersen for many useful discussions.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10562_2016_1701_MOESM1_ESM.docx (650 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 649 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Chester Upham
    • 1
  • Michael J. Gordon
    • 2
  • Horia Metiu
    • 1
  • Eric W. McFarland
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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