Georgios Dimitrakopoulos is using his Kavanaugh Fellowship to develop new technologies for the electrochemical production of ethylene. Ethylene is the second largest chemical produced worldwide per year given its use in the manufacturing of plastics, fibers, and other organic chemicals that are consumed in the packaging, transportation, and construction industries. Ethylene is currently produced at industrial scales primarily through steam-cracking of naphtha or ethane, a process that requires the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels to activate the high-temperature conversion of the feedstock to ethylene. This results to high energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce the energy penalty and carbon footprint, Georgios is developing an electrochemical conversion process based on methane upgrade which can operate at lower temperatures and with high ethylene selectivity/yield.
During his Kavanaugh Fellowship, he is working to hit key technical milestones in his prototype reactor, pursue requisite patents, identify techno-economic targets for commercial viability and build relationships with potential industrial partners.