Thursday, November 11, 2010: 12:51 PM
150 D/E Room (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Syngas conversion such as Fischer-Tropsch (FT) type of synthesis is critical for production of liquid fuels and/or chemicals through the syngas route. However, the conventional F-T process involves complex reactor designs and process flow diagram, and becomes cost-prohibitive for the plant capacity one or two orders of magnitude smaller than the typical petrochemical plant or oil refinery. Step-out catalytic processing technologies are needed to produce chemicals and liquid fuels from diverse and renewable energy and/or hydrocarbon sources that are characteristic of small capacities and unstable supplies. In this presentation, multi-scale reactor design concepts will be described to make a modular-type reactor unit and achieve the above goal. The modular reactor comprises stacking of alternate catalytic reaction and heat exchange layers. In the reaction layer, the catalyst bed is structured of mini-flow channels in a 3-D thermal-conducting matrix. As a result, design parameters at the scales of intrinsic catalyst structures, channel reaction, and reactor vessel can be independently controlled to address the mass and heat transfer problems at the respective scale. The proposed design principles are demonstrated by the exceptional performance achieved with the F-T catalytic reaction. At H2/CO feed ratio of 2, ~95% CO conversion and <10% CH4 selectivity is obtained with the proposed structured bed. By contrast, about 24% CO conversion and 8 % CH4 selectivity is shown with the same catalyst in the crushed particle form. The results suggest it is possible to develop a simple, one-pass, and high-throughput modular-type reactor unit for gas-to-liquid conversion processes.