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Title: Task 3.3: Warm Syngas Cleanup and Catalytic Processes for Syngas Conversion to Fuels Subtask 3: Advanced Syngas Conversion to Fuels

This collaborative joint research project is in the area of advanced gasification and conversion, within the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)-National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)-Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Memorandum of Understanding. The goal for this subtask is the development of advanced syngas conversion technologies. Two areas of investigation were evaluated: Sorption-Enhanced Synthetic Natural Gas Production from Syngas The conversion of synthetic gas (syngas) to synthetic natural gas (SNG) is typically catalyzed by nickel catalysts performed at moderate temperatures (275 to 325°C). The reaction is highly exothermic and substantial heat is liberated, which can lead to process thermal imbalance and destruction of the catalyst. As a result, conversion per pass is typically limited, and substantial syngas recycle is employed. Commercial methanation catalysts and processes have been developed by Haldor Topsoe, and in some reports, they have indicated that there is a need and opportunity for thermally more robust methanation catalysts to allow for higher per-pass conversion in methanation units. SNG process requires the syngas feed with a higher H2/CO ratio than typically produced from gasification processes. Therefore, the water-gas shift reaction (WGS) will be required to tailor the H2/CO ratio. Integration with CO2 separation could potentially eliminate the need formore » a separate WGS unit, thereby integrating WGS, methanation, and CO2 capture into one single unit operation and, consequently, leading to improved process efficiency. The SNG process also has the benefit of producing a product stream with high CO2 concentrations, which makes CO2 separation more readily achievable. The use of either adsorbents or membranes that selectively separate the CO2 from the H2 and CO would shift the methanation reaction (by driving WGS for hydrogen production) and greatly improve the overall efficiency and economics of the process. The scope of this activity was to develop methods and enabling materials for syngas conversion to SNG with readily CO2 separation. Suitable methanation catalyst and CO2 sorbent materials were developed. Successful proof-of-concept for the combined reaction-sorption process was demonstrated, which culminated in a research publication. With successful demonstration, a decision was made to switch focus to an area of fuels research of more interest to all three research institutions (CAS-NETL-PNNL). Syngas-to-Hydrocarbon Fuels through Higher Alcohol Intermediates There are two types of processes in syngas conversion to fuels that are attracting R&D interest: 1) syngas conversion to mixed alcohols; and 2) syngas conversion to gasoline via the methanol-to-gasoline process developed by Exxon-Mobil in the 1970s. The focus of this task was to develop a one-step conversion technology by effectively incorporating both processes, which is expected to reduce the capital and operational cost associated with the conversion of coal-derived syngas to liquid fuels. It should be noted that this work did not further study the classic Fischer-Tropsch reaction pathway. Rather, we focused on the studies for unique catalyst pathways that involve the direct liquid fuel synthesis enabled by oxygenated intermediates. Recent advances made in the area of higher alcohol synthesis including the novel catalytic composite materials recently developed by CAS using base metal catalysts were used.« less
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States