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Information @ a Glance

Introduction

  • Dimethyl ether, also known as methoxymethane, oxybismethane, methyl ether, wood ether, and DME, is a colorless gaseous ether with an ethereal odor.
  • It has an anesthetic effect in high concentrations.
  • DME is miscible with most organic solvents and it has a high solubility in water

Production Process

  • DME is produced by the catalytic dehydration of methanol over zeolite catalyst.
  • As an alternating process, the direct synthesis of DME from syngas was proposed over bifunctional catalysts, which had two kinds of active sites: one is for methanol formation and the other for methanol dehydration.
  • The production of high-purity dimethyl ether (DME) has gained increasing importance, mainly due to its use as an environmentally superior aerosol propellant and clean fuel.
  • DME can be produced from various resources as natural gas, coal or coal bed methane through synthesis gas.

Technology

  • An innovative process of direct synthesis of DME from synthesis gas has been developed by JFE. Newly developed catalyst in a slurry phase reactor gave a high conversion and high selectivity of DME.
  • There has recently been growing interest in dimethyl ether , which has been used as a spraying agent

Uses

  • Dimethyl ether is used as an aerosol spray propellant, and is used in conjunction with propane to give a thermic expansion that lowers temperature to -60C.
  • Dimethyl ether (DME) is a useful chemical intermediate for the preparation of many important chemicals, such as dimethyl sulfate and high-value oxygenated compounds.
  • DME is used as: A refrigerant , A (co-)blowing agent for foam , A propellant for aerosol products ,  A solvent , An extraction agent , A chemical reaction medium , A fuel for welding cutting and brazing , A multi-purpose fuel.
  • DME could be used as a new clean fuel for various fields; residential, transportation, power generation, etc as LPG.

Market

  • The largest market for DME is Asia where the capacity has steadily increased and will continue to grow with new plants constructed for the domestic fuel market.
  • DME production capacity in China needs to exceed 11 million mt for use as a domestic fuel by 2012 to be cost effective in the domestic fuels market.
  • The total production of DME today is between 100,000 and 150,000 metric tons per year
  • The future development of the market for DME as a fuel for power production or automotive transportation will require much larger quantities of DME at a much lower cost.

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