The process of this invention represents an improved method for recovering a purified ethylene product and optionally a purified hydrogen product from the effluent of an autothermal cracking reactor. The process consists of cracked gas chilling, rough separation of a hydrogen-rich stream, demethanization, separation of ethylene from the demethanizer bottoms product, and final purification of the ethylene product. Hydrocarbons heavier than ethylene, including ethane, propylene, and propane are recycled to the ATC reactor. Optionally a purified hydrogen product can be obtained from the hydrogen-rich stream. The invention is particularly useful when the fresh hydrocarbons feed to the autothermal cracking reactor is ethane or a mixture of ethane and propane.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with government support under United States Department of Energy Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FC07-01ID 14090.