Grillo Converts Methane To MSA

June 20, 2016
Grillo-Werke AG achieves breakthrough in the activation of methane.

German chemical company Grillo-Werke AG successfully converts methane into methanesulfonic acid (MSA) after years of research, according to the company. Grillo’s process reportedly leads to high purity MSA by direct sulfonation of methane with sulfur trioxide. The company says large-scale production is planned for 2019.

The industry has been searching intensively for a material utilization of methane, according to Grillo. In addition to direct sulfonation, research focuses on direct oxidation of methane to methanol and oxidative coupling to ethylene. Grillo’s Chemicals Division responds to the challenge of methane’s limited reactivity through a tailored reaction environment and specific activators. The process has been continuously optimized and now achieves almost full conversion at mild reaction conditions, according to the company.

Grillo’s sulfonation process is based on natural gas and sulfur trioxide (SO3) as feedstocks and is reportedly free of environmentally problematic intermediate and by-products. Methanesulfonic acid is not oxidative and is readily biodegradable and toxicologically unproblematic, according to Grillo. MSA is reportedly being used in the electroplating, electronics, industrial cleaning and pharmaceutical industries.

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