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Methanol Project Design a plant to make methanol from synthesis gas to supply a future market in direct methanol fuel cells.

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Presentation on theme: "Methanol Project Design a plant to make methanol from synthesis gas to supply a future market in direct methanol fuel cells."— Presentation transcript:

1 Methanol Project Design a plant to make methanol from synthesis gas to supply a future market in direct methanol fuel cells

2 Methanol Project Don Robinson Documentation What we want to do => Basic Data Available Lab Facilities => Analysis & Planning Questionnaire to be worked on this week => Basic Data

3 Methanol Project Don Robinson Who We Are Limestone Engineering Consultants Ltd. Contracted by a major petroleum company Specific scenario (one of many): What does the client do if motor vehicle industry shifts to direct methanol fuel cells for environmental reasons

4 Methanol Project Don Robinson Methanol from Natural Gas Synthesis Gas: CH 4 + H 2 0 => CO + 3H 2 Water Gas Shift: CO + H 2 0 CO 2 + H 2 Methanol from CO and CO 2 : CO + 2H 2 CH 3 OH CO 2 + 3H 2 CH 3 OH + H 2 O

5 Methanol Project Don Robinson Our Task Our client has developed a design for a synthesis gas process We are to develop a design for a process to convert the synthesis gas to methanol The design is to be for a semi-commercial demo unit, although it is hoped that this will eventually lead to a world scale plant

6 Methanol Project Don Robinson Chemistry The earlier literature points out that methanol can be made from either CO or CO2 The latest thinking is that, with the commonly used catalytic systems, virtually all of the product comes from the CO 2 reaction CO goes via a rapid water gas shift

7 Methanol Project Don Robinson A Problem Overall reaction is CH 4 + H 2 O => CH 3 OH + H 2 Conversion per pass is low (recycle required) To avoid H 2 buildup it is necessary to separate it from a CO/CO 2 /CH 4 mixture This is not easy to do

8 Methanol Project Don Robinson Our Solution Add sufficient CO2 to the synthesis gas so that there is a stoichiometric ratio That is, reaction to completion would result in zero amounts of CO, CO 2, H 2 Assume that CO 2 is available from an ammonia plant or some similar source

9 Methanol Project Don Robinson Kinetics Both reactions are reversible - methane to syngas - syngas plus added CO2 to methanol We have determined experimentally values for rate and equilibrium constants Side reactions generate ethanol and fusel oil (no detailed kinetics)

10 Methanol Project Don Robinson Overall Process Reactor System Recycle System Separation Section Product Waste or Reuse Recycle Feeds

11 Methanol Project Don Robinson Previous Attempt A design for this process was developed last year Although technically successful, the economics did not look good We want to try again with a better reactor design

12 Methanol Project Don Robinson Removing Heat of Reaction Old design was 3 sets of: adiabatic packed bed reactor followed by heat exchanger New design is a single cooled reactor, much like a shell and tube heat exchanger, with catalyst in the tubes and coolant in the shell

13 Methanol Project Don Robinson Other Design Improvements Convert most CO to CO2 before the main reactor (less heat to remove) Do a better job of dealing with the impurities Get kinetic data in lab Reconfigure distillation train Utilize what was learned last year


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