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Excited to share our latest paper, discussing economic and environmental insights into the hybrid (thermal and electrochemical) ethylene oxide production processes, published in Chemical Engineering Journal. The paper designs overall production pathways for ethylene oxide, and performs techno-economic analysis and life-cycle assessment. Linking conventional and electrochemical steps for the hybrid process has many advantages. Please find the results from:

Thank you for your collaboration: Kyoungsuk Jin, Chan Woo Lee, and Won Bo Lee. Also, congratulations, Seungwoo!


The electrochemical reduction of CO2 into petrochemical precursors is a promising sustainable technology that has the potential to replace conventional processes which utilize fossil fuels. However, compared to primary precursors which are generally analyzed through integrated techno-economic analysis and life-cycle assessment, research on crucial secondary precursors, such as ethylene oxide, is relatively limited. Here, we conducted holistic economic and environmental evaluation for nine potential ethylene oxide production pathways with either CO2 or ethane as the main feed source and compared the profitability and environmental effects of different process alignments. To achieve this, we designed unit processes and combined them to establish pathways for ethylene oxide production. In addition to techno-economic and life cycle analysis, sensitivity analysis was also performed to determine the most important electrochemical parameters, which were identified as the current density and Faradaic efficiency. Finally, we evaluated the influence of carbon credits in relation to target carbon reductions based on stated guidelines for future economic planning. Collectively, the results indicated that the techno-economic feasibility of ethylene oxide production pathways was strongly associated with the feed sources and process configurations. This work demonstrates that conventional ethylene oxide production can be replaced by a more profitable and environmentally-friendly alternative based on combining conventional and electrochemical processes.

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