267426 Development of Intensified Catalytic Reactors for DME and Fischer-Tropsch Biofuels Synthesis in Future Integrated Biorefineries
Intensified catalytic reactors have been developed within a European Union funded project (www.suprabio.eu) to carry out conversion of syngas, derived from thermochemical conversion of biomass, to dimethyl ether (DME) via a direct process (without an intermediate methanol stage) and to middle distillate biofuels via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. The aim is to provide efficient processes that are scalable to the distributed biomass treatment and conversion processes within an integrated biorefinery system. The approach is to achieve process and engineering integration and to utilise the enhanced heat and mass transfer properties of the reactor designs to overcome the cost penalties associated with downscaling plants.
The catalysts are prepared in a form that allows coating onto arrays of metal plates that are stacked and laser welded to form a mini-reactor. The challenges are to optimise catalyst properties, to achieve stable, adherent and uniform coatings and to design and optimise the reactor geometry to achieve fine control of reaction temperatures.
A range of highly selective, novel nano-catalysts have been prepared and tested for these reactions.
The experiments have been carried out over a wide range of reaction temperatures (210–300 °C), pressure (10–30 bar), H2/CO = 2. The results indicate very promising levels of DME and hydrocarbon yields.