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Catalytic partial oxidation of methane to synthesis gas (Syn-Gas): compact, energy-efficient reforming technology with reduced environmental impact



The aim of this project is to demonstrate in a lab. scale reactor the catalytic partial oxidation (CPO) of methane. This would allow the exploitation of remote/marginal gas fields. CPO offers a compact process with lower capital costs and reduced environmental emissions that could be operated on a floating platform. The catalysts must be highly selective and stable, giving complete methane conversion over a long time at high temperature and pressure, resistant to coking, and must not require high steam injection. The plant must be simple in construction and operate safely and adiabatically without fired heaters.

Technical Approach

The industrial partners will first define perceived markets for syn-gas production and use those to define product specifications, and reactor and operational requirements. Both fixed and fluidised bed process routes will be examined.

The project will draw upon the best materials already developed by the participants of project JOU2-CT92-0073. These will be ranked as to activity, selectivity, stability, etc. and the top ranked catalysts tested at microreactor scale. Existing homogeneous reaction models will be further developed and experimentally validated. Poisoning and deactivation tests, designed to model reactor operations will be carried out. Kinetic studies will be carried out on a representative set of catalysts to derive a set of rate equations, and these results fed into computer models developed for both fixed and fluidized bed operation. The best catalysts will then go forward for testing at lab scale, with a final demonstration of one or more formulations under commercial conditions. A techno-economic and environmental assessment of the process will be carried out.
Expected Achievements and Exploitation

The project is expected to demonstrate that the catalytic partial oxidation of natural gas can be carried out safely in both fixed and fluidised bed geometry. It will identify catalysts that are able to perform CPO for run time of at least 1000 hours, and will include both an environmental impact assessment and a techno-economic assessment.

Three potential exploitable products are foreseen:
1. a prototype compact and transportable unit for hydrogen generation, using natural gas as the feedstock and air as the oxidant;
2. a similar prototype unit, also using natural gas and air, for hydrogen production for fuel cells, probably as part of a solid polymer fuel cell stack system;
3. a low cost, clean and compact system for conversion of natural gas to liquid fuels such as methanol or syn-crude. As far as transport is concerned, the process could be relevant to both fixed and on-board reforming, and to vehicles that use both I.C.E.s and fuel cells for motive power.

Call for proposal

Data not available


Ashby road
LE11 3GR Loughborough - leicestershire
United Kingdom

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EU contribution
€ 0,00

Participants (8)