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Evaluation of Promoters for Rhodium-Based Catalysts for Mixed Alcohol Synthesis

Description: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are conducting research to investigate the feasibility of producing mixed alcohols from biomass-derived synthesis gas (syngas). PNNL is tasked with obtaining commercially-available catalysts or preparing promising mixed-alcohol catalysts and screening them in a laboratory-scale reactor system. Commercially-available catalysts and the most promising experimental catalysts are provided to NREL for testing using a slipstream from a pilot-scale biomass gasifier. A total of 28 tests were conducted to evaluate 22 different promoters as well as an unpromoted catalyst. The following general trends were observed for the test results: • The highest carbon selectivity to C2+ oxygenates occurred at the lowest reaction temperatures and accompanying lowest space time yields (STYs). • The lowest carbon selectivity to C2+ oxygenates occurred at the highest reaction temperatures because of high carbon conversion to hydrocarbons. • The highest C2+-oxygenate STYs occurred between 300°C and 325°C, with the gas hourly space velocity (GHSV) adjusted when necessary to maintain carbon conversion ranges between ~ 30 and 40 percent. Higher carbon selectivity to hydrocarbons at higher temperatures resulted in lower C2+-oxygenate STYs. • When catalysts were heated to between 300°C and 325°C the catalysts showed evidence of some deactivation with respect to C2+ oxygenate productivity, accompanied by reduced chain growth for the hydrocarbon products. The degree of deactivation and the temperature at which it occurred varied between the different catalysts tested. Of all of the catalysts evaluated, the Li-promoted catalysts had the highest carbon selectivity to C2+ oxygenates (47 percent) under the conditions at which the maximum C2+-oxygenate STYs were obtained.
Date: December 8, 2008
Creator: Gerber, Mark A.; White, James F.; Gray, Michel J. & Stevens, Don J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Top Value Added Chemicals From Biomass: I. Results of Screening for Potential Candidates from Sugars and Synthesis Gas

Description: This report identifies twelve building block chemicals that can be produced from sugars via biological or chemical conversions. The twelve building blocks can be subsequently converted to a number of high-value bio-based chemicals or materials. Building block chemicals, as considered for this analysis, are molecules with multiple functional groups that possess the potential to be transformed into new families of useful molecules. The twelve sugar-based building blocks are 1,4-diacids (succinic, fumaric and malic), 2,5-furan dicarboxylic acid, 3-hydroxy propionic acid, aspartic acid, glucaric acid, glutamic acid, itaconic acid, levulinic acid, 3-hydroxybutyrolactone, glycerol, sorbitol, and xylitol/arabinitol. In addition to building blocks, the report outlines the central technical barriers that are preventing the widespread use of biomass for products and chemicals.
Date: November 1, 2004
Creator: Werpy, Todd A.; Holladay, John E. & White, James F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Top Value-Added Chemicals from Biomass - Volume II—Results of Screening for Potential Candidates from Biorefinery Lignin

Description: This report evaluates lignin’s role as a renewable raw material resource. Opportunities that arise from utilizing lignin fit into one of three categories: 1)power, fuel and syngas (generally near-term opportunities) 2) macromolecules (generally medium-term opportunities) 3) aromatics and miscellaneous monomers (long-term opportunities). Biorefineries will receive and process massive amounts of lignin. For this reason, how lignin can be best used to support the economic health of the biorefinery must be defined. An approach that only considers process heat would be shortsighted. Higher value products present economic opportunities and the potential to significantly increase the amount of liquid transportation fuel available from biomass. In this analysis a list of potential uses of lignin was compiled and sorted into “product types” which are broad classifications (listed above as power—fuel—syngas; macromolecules; and aromatics). In the first “product type” (power—fuel—gasification) lignin is used purely as a carbon source and aggressive means are employed to break down its polymeric structure. In the second “product type” (macromolecules) the opposite extreme is considered and advantage of the macromolecular structure imparted by nature is retained in high-molecular weight applications. The third “product type” (aromatics) lies somewhere between the two extremes and employs technologies that would break up lignin’s macromolecular structure but maintain the aromatic nature of the building block molecules. The individual opportunities were evaluated based on their technical difficulty, market, market risk, building block utility, and whether a pure material or a mixture would be produced. Unlike the “Sugars Top 10” report it was difficult to identify the ten best opportunities, however, the potential opportunities fell nicely into near-, medium- and long-term opportunities. Furthermore, the near-, medium- and long-term opportunities roughly align with the three “product types.” From this analysis a list of technical barriers was developed which can be used to identify research needs. Lignin presents ...
Date: October 1, 2007
Creator: Holladay, John E.; White, James F.; Bozell, Joseph J. & Johnson, David
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Mixed Alcohol Synthesis Catalyst Screening

Description: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are conducting research to investigate the feasibility of producing mixed alcohols from biomass-derived synthesis gas (syngas). PNNL is tasked with obtaining commercially available or preparing promising mixed-alcohol catalysts and screening them in a laboratory-scale reactor system. Commercially available catalysts and the most promising experimental catalysts are provided to NREL for testing using a slipstream from a pilot-scale biomass gasifier. From the standpoint of producing C2+ alcohols as the major product, it appears that the rhodium catalyst is the best choice in terms of both selectivity and space-time yield (STY). However, unless the rhodium catalyst can be improved to provide minimally acceptable STYs for commercial operation, mixed alcohol synthesis will involve significant production of other liquid coproducts. The modified Fischer-Tropsch catalyst shows the most promise for providing both an acceptable selectivity to C2+ alcohols and total liquid STY. However, further optimization of the Fischer-Tropsch catalysts to improve selectivity to higher alcohols is highly desired. Selection of a preferred catalyst will likely entail a decision on the preferred coproduct slate. No other catalysts tested appear amenable to the significant improvements needed for acceptable STYs.
Date: September 3, 2007
Creator: Gerber, Mark A.; White, James F. & Stevens, Don J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Single-Step Syngas-to-Distillates (S2D) Synthesis via Methanol and Dimethyl Ether Intermediates: Final Report

Description: The objective of the work was to enhance price-competitive, synthesis gas (syngas)-based production of transportation fuels that are directly compatible with the existing vehicle fleet (i.e., vehicles fueled by gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, etc.). To accomplish this, modifications to the traditional methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) process were investigated. In this study, we investigated direct conversion of syngas to distillates using methanol and dimethyl ether intermediates. For this application, a Pd/ZnO/Al2O3 (PdZnAl) catalyst previously developed for methanol steam reforming was evaluated. The PdZnAl catalyst was shown to be far superior to a conventional copper-based methanol catalyst when operated at relatively high temperatures (i.e., >300°C), which is necessary for MTG-type applications. Catalytic performance was evaluated through parametric studies. Process conditions such as temperature, pressure, gas-hour-space velocity, and syngas feed ratio (i.e., hydrogen:carbon monoxide) were investigated. PdZnAl catalyst formulation also was optimized to maximize conversion and selectivity to methanol and dimethyl ether while suppressing methane formation. Thus, a PdZn/Al2O3 catalyst optimized for methanol and dimethyl ether formation was developed through combined catalytic material and process parameter exploration. However, even after compositional optimization, a significant amount of undesirable carbon dioxide was produced (formed via the water-gas-shift reaction), and some degree of methane formation could not be completely avoided. Pd/ZnO/Al2O3 used in combination with ZSM-5 was investigated for direct syngas-to-distillates conversion. High conversion was achieved as thermodynamic constraints are alleviated when methanol and dimethyl are intermediates for hydrocarbon formation. When methanol and/or dimethyl ether are products formed separately, equilibrium restrictions occur. Thermodynamic relaxation also enables the use of lower operating pressures than what would be allowed for methanol synthesis alone. Aromatic-rich hydrocarbon liquid (C5+), containing a significant amount of methylated benzenes, was produced under these conditions. However, selectivity control to liquid hydrocarbons was difficult to achieve. Carbon dioxide and methane formation was problematic. Furthermore, saturation of the ...
Date: November 26, 2013
Creator: Dagle, Robert A.; Lebarbier, Vanessa MC; Lizarazo Adarme, Jair A.; King, David L.; Zhu, Yunhua; Gray, Michel J. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department