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SELECTIVE PRODUCTION OF ALCOHOLS FROM SYNTHESIS GAS

Objective

THE AIM OF THE PROJECT IS TO DEVELOP A NEW OR IMPROVED CATALYST FOR THE CONVERSION OF SYNTHESIS GAS INTO A MIXTURE OF ALCOHOLS WHICH, BLENDED DIRECTLY, WOULD SERVE TO BOOST THE OCTANE RATING OF GASOLINE.
Catalytic tests have been performed on model cobalt based active phases to standardise test and analysis procedures and characterisation studies of the evolution of these phases under synthesis gas have been undertaken by in situ magnetic measurements and chemical trapping. The purpose of this work was to understand the modification of the active sites under synthesis gas and also to obtain predictive correlations between the active phase characteristics and the alcohol selectivity, or the higher alcohol content of the alcohol mixture, to be used as an octane booster. In parallel new or improved active phases have been prepared and evaluated on a pilot scale. Such active phases yield significantly higher alcohol selectivities for a given and optimised chain growth rate, leading to further improvements of the overall synthesis technology.

A suite of programs has been developed to provide a tool for the technoeconomic evaluation of coal liquefaction and other processes. It is designed to run on IBM PC and compatible machines, and the C programming language is used throughout. The system is user friendly and requires no programming expertise, only a knowledge of the process to be modelled. The program COMPOUND is used to prepare and maintain a database of physical and chemical properties of compounds. The programs LAYOUT and TECHINFO are the first stages in the evaluation of a new process and prompt the user for information which would normally be available on a process flow diagram. The mass and energy balance is calculated using the program BALANCE and 2 further programs, UTILITY and COST, then calculate the utility usages and the capital cost.
Within the thermodynamic subroutines, the Lee and Kesler modification of the Benedict-Webb-Rubin (BWR) equation of state is the only equation of state which is used, and there is as yet no allowance for nonideal solution behaviour. These are seen as areas of weakness, but the program's strength lies in its flexibility and modular construction, which allow the system to be easily modified to overcome its weaknesses. The testing of the program is restricted due to the lack of good data on coal liquids and liquefaction processes.
THIS IS A CO-OPERATIVE PROJECT LEAD BY GERTH OF FRANCE AND INVOLVING CONTRIBUTIONS FROM I.F.P. (FRANCE), UNIVERSITY OF LIEGE (BELGIUM), INSTITUT DE RECHERCHE SUR LA CATALYSE (FRANCE), UNIVERSITY OF STRASBOURG (FRANCE) AND K.F.A. JUELICH GMBH (F.R. GERMANY).
IT TAKES AS ITS STARTING POINT THE COMMERCIAL CATALYST TECHNOLOGY OF IFP IN THIS FIELD AND WILL ATTEMPT TO IMPROVE ACTIVITY AND SELECTIVITY TO ALCOHOLS. SPECIFICALLY IT WILL ATTEMPT TO REDUCE THE PROPORTION OF HYDROCARBONS AND C8 + ALCOHOLS FORMED AND TO INCREASE THE C2 - C7 ALCOHOLS MADE; AT THE SAME TIME IT IS HOPED TO IMPROVE CATALYST ACTIVITY AND THEREBY USE LESS CATALYST UNDER MILDER CONDITIONS.
A 24 MONTHS PROGRAMME OF RESEARCH IN FIVE PHASES GOT UNDERWAY IN THE AUTUMN OF 1986. IN PHASE I I.F.P. WILL ESTABLISH STANDARD METHODS AND PROCEDURES FOR ALL PARTNERS. IN PHASES II AND III NOVEL ACTIVE PHASES, PREPARED BY LIEGE, WILL BE CHARACTERISED BY STRASBOURG (USING CHEMICAL TRAPPING) AND BY I.R.C. (USING MAGNETIC TECHNIQUES) AND WILL BE TESTED BY K.F.A. (FOR ACTIVITING, SELECTIVITY AND LIFETIME). IN PHASE IV STRASBOURG AND I.R.C. WILL TRY TO RANK THE CATALYSTS AND IDENTIFY THE BEST PERFORMERS. THE LATTER, A NEW GENERATION OF CATALYSTS, WILL BE PREPARED AND TESTED ON THE 0.1-0.3 KG SCALE IN PHASE V.
SHOULD THE NEW CATALYSTS EMERGING FROM PHASE V SHOW THE DESIRED IMPROVEMENTS IN PERFORMANCE THEY MAY BE THE SUBJECT OF A FURTHER PROPOSAL WHICH WOULD SCALE THROUGH THE 0.5-10 KG STAGE TO THE 10-100 KG SCALE OF A PILOT PLANT.

STATE OF ADVANCEMENT:
THREE PROGRESS REPORTS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED. GOOD PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE: PHASE 1 IS COMPLETED, PHASE 2 IS WELL ADVANCED AND PHASE 3 HAS BEEN INITIATED WITH COPPER-COBALT FORMULAE. ENCOUNTERED PROBLEMS TO PREDICT ALCOHOL SELECTIVITY HAVE BEEN ELUCIDATED

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

GROUPEMENT EUROPÉEN DE RECHERCHES TECHNOLOGIQUES SUR LES HYDROCARBURES
Address
Avenue Napoléon Bonaparte 232
92500 Rueil Malmaison
France

Participants (5)

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
France
Address

69622 Villeurbanne
FORSCHUNGSZENTRUM JUELICH GMBH
Germany
Address
Wilhelm Johnen Strasse
52425 Juelich
Institut Français du Pétrole
France
Address
1-4 Avenue Du Bois Préau
92506 Rueil-malmaison
UNIVERSITE DE LIEGE
Belgium
Address

Liege-sart Tilman
UNIVERSITE DE STRASBOURG
France
Address

Strasbourg