Techno-Economic Analysis of Electrochemical Refineries Using Solid Oxide Cells for Oxidative Coupling of Methane
Ethylene is a large-scale commodity which is produced from fossil ethane via steam cracking. As more renewable electricity becomes available, electro-chemical production processes for ethylene are gaining attractiveness due to the generally high efficiency of electro-chemical processes and the potential to reduce CO2 emissions. In this study we explore the economics of oxidative coupling of methane (OCM)-based ethylene production and compare it to the conventional ethane steam cracking route. While current OCM cells are not economically competitive due to high capital investment costs (+105%) and high operating costs (+145%), OCM has the potential to become economically viable once overpotentials are lowered and single pass conversion rates reach +60%.