Carbon Sciences to produce first samples of diesel fuel from methane and CO2 using catalytic dry reforming process
|Overview of Carbon Sciences’ process. Click to enlarge.|
Carbon Sciences, Inc., a technology developer focusing on the conversion of carbon dioxide and methane to fuels, plans to produce samples of diesel fuel in an end-to-end process demonstration.
In December 2010, Carbon Sciences announced a worldwide exclusive license agreement with the University of Saskatchewan (UOS), Canada, for catalyst technology for the dry reforming of methane with CO2. (Earlier post.) Dry reforming of methane, which produces a syngas that can then be transformed into fuels and chemicals using a conventional Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process, offers lower projected capital and operating costs than other methods for converting methane to syngas—i.e., steam reforming, partial oxidation, or autothermal reforming—according to the company. However, there currently is no commercial catalyst robust enough to sustain dry reforming reactions on an industrial scale. Carbon Sciences says it has solved this problem.
|Catalyst performance. Click to enlarge.|
The UOS catalyst technology, developed over the past decade by Dr. Hui Wang, professor of Chemical Engineering, has demonstrated high performance and reliability. The UOS catalyst achieved 92% conversion into essentially 1:1 H2/CO syngas with no detectable sintering, no significant carbon deposition, and thus no catalyst deactivation. Dr. Wang’s research team has successfully tested the catalyst for 2,000 hours of continuous operation in a bench top reactor.
The catalyst has also undergone 600 hours of commercial testing without regeneration. The company claims that its second-generation catalyst has achieved performance levels close to its theoretical limits.
After achieving very positive commercial test results for our catalyst, we are moving ahead aggressively to accelerate the production of larger quantities of the catalyst, as well as completing the technical and economic analyses in preparation for discussions with strategic partners. Working with the GTL experts at our engineering firm, Emerging Fuels Technology, we also plan to demonstrate an end-to-end process that will produce samples of diesel fuel that can be used by existing diesel vehicles.—Byron Elton, Carbon Sciences’ CEO
Broadly, the methane dry reforming reaction is:
Since the CH4 and CO2 reaction consumes CO2, the company says, syngas from dry reforming can be carbon neutral or carbon negative, depending upon the carbon balance of the energy source. For example, if reaction heat was provided by geothermal or solar thermal energy, then the resulting sygnas would be carbon negative. In countries where carbon credits are available, a carbon negative balance may offset a majority of the cost of producing syngas, offering a major cost advantage over other methane reforming processes.
Carbon Sciences’ claims that using its catalyst can achieve a 20% to 30% capital cost advantage over the alternatives because dry reforming is a simpler process, does not require an oxygen plant, uses small amounts of steam and has high conversion efficiency. Additionally, the feedstock cost of dry reforming syngas may be lowered by as much as 25% because CO2 is a zero cost feedstock (and often negative value) that occurs naturally in methane gas fields.
Haijun Sun Jian Huang, Hui Wang, and Jianguo Zhang (2007) CO2 Reforming of CH4 over Xerogel Ni-Ti and Ni-Ti-Al Catalysts. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 46 (13), pp 4444–4450 doi: 10.1021/ie070049e
Jianguo Zhang, Hui Wang and Ajay K. Dalai (2009) Kinetic Studies of Carbon Dioxide Reforming of Methane over Ni-Co/Al-Mg-O Bimetallic Catalyst. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 48 (2), pp 677–684 doi: 10.1021/ie801078p
US Patent # 2009/0314993 A1. Catalyst for Production of Synthesis Gas (24 Dec 2009)