Methane-to-Methanol via Chemical Looping: Economic Potential and Guidance for Future Research

This article is meant to frame the challenges and opportunities of the methane conversion to methanol via a chemical looping (or redox) process by comparison with the industrial performance criteria. Accordingly, the low methanol productivity and the expected long cycle time result in an overall production rate that falls a factor of ∼50 below the industrial threshold and leads to the prohibitive material cost. With this analysis, we aim to stimulate the diversification of the research directions toward making the process more economically interesting. We also extend this analysis to a variety of the chemical looping processes and conclude that they all fall short of the simple productivity criteria. We therefore recommend researchers pay more attention to improving productivity in these processes.