Aims and Objective: In this work, the performance of a sodalite membrane reactor
(MR) in the conversion of methanol to olefins (MTO process) was evaluated for ethylene and
propylene production with in situ steam removal using 3-dimensional CFD (computational fluid
Methods: Numerical simulation was performed using the commercial CFD package COMSOL
Multiphysics 5.3. The finite element method was used to solve the governing equations in the 3-
dimensional CFD model for the present work. In the sodalite MR model, a commercial SAPO-34
catalyst in the reaction zone was considered. The influence of key operation parameters, including
pressure and temperature on methanol conversion, water recovery, and yields of ethylene,
propylene, and water was studied to evaluate the performance of sodalite MR.
Results: The local information of component concentration for methanol, ethylene, propylene, and
water was obtained by the proposed CFD model. Literature data were applied to validate model
results, and a good agreement was attained between the experimental data and predicted results using
CFD model. Permeation flux through the sodalite membrane was increased by an increase of reaction
temperature, which led to the enhancement of water stream recovered in the permeate side.
Conclusion: The CFD modeling results showed that the sodalite MR in the MTO process had
higher performance in methanol conversion compared to the fixed-bed reactor (methanol
conversion of 97% and 89% at 733 K for sodalite MR and fixed-bed reactor, respectively).