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1. (WO2007003312) PROCESS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF ETHYLENE
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CLAIMS

1. A process for the production of ethylene, comprising the steps of

thermally converting, by a pyrolysis or a partial oxidation process, a feed charge containing methane into an acetylene containing effluent, and

in situ hydrogenating, by a non-catalytic reaction, the acetylene produced in the first step into ethylene by intimately mixing the acetylene containing effluent with an ethane feed.

2. The process according to claim 1 , wherein the pyrolysis process is a two-stage process.

3. The process according to claim 2, wherein the pyrolysis process is a high temperature pyrolysis process.

4. The process according to claim 1 , wherein the partial oxidation process comprises preheating the feed containing methane and oxygen to a temperature of from 6000C to 700°C, wherein the oxygen to methane feed ratio is from 0.5 to 0.7, and wherein the temperature in the pyrolysis zone is from 15000C to 16000C.

5. The process according to claim 4, wherein the oxygen to methane feed ratio is about 0.62.

6. The process according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the acetylene containing mixture is partially quenched using a coolant, before the in situ hydrogenation reaction takes place.

7. The process according to claim 6, wherein the coolant is selected from the group consisting of water, heavy hydrocarbons, natural gas, methanol and mixtures thereof.

8. The process according to claim 6 or 7, wherein the temperature of the acetylene containing mixture after partially quenching is between 8000C and 950°C.

9. The process according to claim 1 , wherein rate and temperature of the ethane feed, and of coolant addition are adjusted to keep the hydrogenation temperature in the range from 8000C to 9500C.

10. The process according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the ethane feed is added separately to the hydrogenation zone.

11. The process according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the ethane to acetylene molar ratio ranges from 4:1 to 0.2:1.

12. The process according to claim 11 , wherein the ethane to acetylene molar ratio ranges from 1 :1 to 0.25:1.

13. The process according to any of the preceding claims, wherein contact time in the hydrogenation zone is from 0.01 to 1.0 seconds and the pressure is from 0.05 to 0.5 MPa.

14. The process according to anyone of claims 6 to 13, wherein the hydrogenation zone comprises multiple partial quench zones.

15. The process according to any of the preceding claims, wherein a final quench is conducted to bring the temperature of product gases containing ethylene to a temperature of from 900C to 15O0C.

16. The process according to claim 15, wherein residual acetylene and unconverted ethane in the product gas is separated downstream and recycled back, together with a make-up ethane feed, to the hydrogenation zone.