Faculty Advisor

Timko, Michael T.


Our study used HZSM-5 (a zeolite catalyst) in the catalytic dehydration of ethanol to form ethylene, focusing on using aqueous feedstocks. The reaction was studied in both the liquid and vapor phase using a micro flow reactor. Samples were analyzed using gas chromatography. Our results suggest that ethanol conversion is not significantly affected by the addition of water in either phase. However, vapor phase has consistently higher ethanol conversion than in the liquid phase. The addition of water had a strong, positive correlation with ethylene yield in liquid phase ethanol dehydration. Our data suggests water improved ethylene selectivity in the liquid phase. To explain this phenomenon, we suggest a mechanism in which water reduces ethanol dimerization at zeolite active sites.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2018


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering