Carbon2Chem® laboratory

Purifying gases as well as catalytically producing methanol and higher alcohols

Carbon2Chem®-Laboratory in Oberhausen, Grermany
© Fraunhofer UMSICHT
Carbon2Chem® laboratory in Oberhausen.

The Carbon2Chem® laboratory on the campus of Fraunhofer UMSICHT in Oberhausen measures 500 m2. Research and validations are conducted here concerning the catalytic production of methanol and higher alcohols from steel mill gases as well as gas purification.

In specific terms, components and processes are scaled up and optimum operating points, control strategies, and modes of operating are determined. To conduct preliminary experimental investigations, laboratory space, which can be used to test the technologies from all of the Carbon2Chem® subprojects, is also available.

The work focuses on the behavior of various catalysts when using steel mill gases and a dynamic operation of the processes. The results serve as the basis for work in the pilot plant station.

Gas purification

The research focuses on developing and implementing gas purification and treatment technologies for steel mill gases.

  • Thermal deoxygenation

    Investigation of different catalysts and process conditions in a complex gas matrix

    Aim

    Thermal deoxygenation

    • Heterogeneously catalyzed conversion of oxygen traces
    • Investigation of different catalysts and process conditions in a complex gas matrix

    Application

    • Gas purification and gas treatment

    Technical specification

    • High-temperature fixed-bed reactor
    • Quartz glass (Ø 25 mm; 1000 °C; max. 1 bar)
    • Stainless steel (Ø 25.4 mm; 550 °C; max. 60 bar)
    • Artificial steel mill gas
    • Metering system for minor components
    • MS analyzer
    • O2 sensor
  • Non-thermal plasma deoxygenation

    Investigation of different catalysts and process conditions in a non-thermal plasma

    Aim

    Deoxygenation of coke oven gas

    • Desorption of significantly adsorbed components
    • Utilization of electrical conductivity of active charcoal
    • Modification of non-conductive adsorbents
    • Variation of the adsorbent configuration

    Application

    • Separation of significantly adsorbed minor components from waste gases
    • Energy-efficient regeneration of adsorbents

    Technical specification

    • 2 adsorber/desorber containers (approx. 250 ml; max. 10 bar)
    • Measurement of the axial temperature distribution (max. 648 K)
    • Possibility of detecting the desorbed species
  • Thermal adsorption and desorption

    Testing of electric swing adsorption to separate minor components and recycling materials from various steel mill gases

    Aim

    Thermal regeneration of adsorbents via electricity

    • Desorption of significantly adsorbed components
    • Utilization of electrical conductivity of active charcoal
    • Modification of non-conductive adsorbents
    • Variation of the adsorbent configuration

    Application

    • Reversible separation of significantly adsorbed minor components
      from waste gases
    • Efficient regeneration of adsorbents
    • Protection for other adsorption technologies

    Technical specification

    • Adsorber containers each with a capacity of 60 L
    • Volume flow rate of up to 6 Nm3/h
    • Desorption up to 350 °C
    • Simultaneous adsorption and desorption in two containers

Catalyst testing

  • Heterogeneous catalytic synthesis of methanol from syngas with different CO/CO2 concentrations. Possibility of adding low concentrations of liquids even at increased pressure in the gas phase to test the influence on productivity and stability. 
     

    Aim

    Determination of activity as part of methanol synthesis under the influence of certain reaction parameters 

    • Optimization of the parameters in methanol synthesis including dynamic operation
    • Influence of various concentrations on methanol productivity
    • Multiple usage of unreacted educts and their influence on conversion and selectivity 


    Application

    • Examination of catalysts in methanol synthesis under industry-related process conditions
    • Parameter optimization (reaction temperature, pressure, gas composition, etc.)


    Technical specification

    • Use of 2 fixed-bed reactors with catalyst quantities of up to 1g
    • Volume flows of various compositions within the range of 100 to 1500Nml min-1 possible
    • Temperatures of up to 400°C in a stainless steel reactor and pressures of up to 50 bar
    • Online analysis: 4 sampling points for gas chromatography
  • Transient and stationary examination of various catalysts. Examination of various gas compositions with a range of pressures and temperatures to obtain information about the structural response relationship in the examined reaction.


    Aim

    Catalyst and activity screening of the individual reactions

    • Temperature-programmed methods of characterization
    • Influence of impurities in the educt gas via pulses and in continuous operation
    • Activity measurements in methanol synthesis and ammonia synthesis to assess deactivation due to impurities, especially O2 and the like.
    • Variation of different disturbance variables in the process sequence


    Application

    • Dimensioning of the necessary purification of the educt gases for catalysis
    • Parameter optimization (reaction temperature, pressure, gas composition, etc.)


    Technical specification

    • Temperature range from -200°C to 600°C in a stainless steel U reactor up to 60 bar
    • Online analysis via quadrupole mass spectrometry and GC analysis

Analytics

  • The PTR-TOF1000/10K spectrometers were generated for what are known as “volatile organic compounds” (VOC), among other things, and can analyze trace components as well as the fragmentation patterns of these compounds using mass spectrometry. In addition, these spectrometers are connected to a HovaCAL gas generator system, which should make it possible to simulate gas mixtures and analyze them online.


    Aim

    Simulation of various simulated gas mixtures (e.g., metallurgical gases) and immediate subsequent online measurement, identification, and analysis.

    • Identification of potential impurities (catalyst poisons, etc.) in the ppb to ppt range
    • Quantification and analysis (e.g., fragmentation patterns) of critical components


    Application

    • Characterization of the trace components is enabled with three different primary ions (H3O+, NO+, and O2+)
    • Calibration and simulation of relevant substances using a HovaCAL calibration gas generator
    • Long-term measurement campaigns
    • Parameter optimization (dilution factor, collision energy, pressure, temperature, etc.)
    • Analysis of components in liquid and gas phases.


    Technical specification

    • Online trace analysis (PTR-TOF-1000 and PTR-10K)
    • Calibration gas generator (HovaCAL), (possibility of liquid and gaseous sample injection and additional option of humidifying gases in a targeted manner.)
    • Gas supply: H2, O2, N2, He, Ar, compressed air, and as required
    • ppb/ppt sensitivity
  • TD-GC-TofMS (Thermal desorption-gas-chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometer) was developed to identify and quantify compounds within the gas phase at a trace level.


    Aim

    Identification of trace compounds in untreated and treated metallurgical gases and in liquid samples.

    • Identification of unknown compounds at a trace level
    • Quantification of selected trace compounds


    Application

    • Analysis of gaseous, liquid, and solid samples
    • Differentiation of isomers possible
    • Fast screening of complex compounds


    Technical specification

    • Automated introduction of samples, GC separation, and detection via a TofMS
      • TD tube for sampling (selection based on the matrix and analyte)
      • Limited to thermally stable compounds (C3-C44)
    • Tandem ionization possible (conventionally 70 eV and soft EI ionization)
    • High sensitivity down to ppt level

Methanol production

  • Demonstration plant methanol synthesis

    Investigations into the operating behavior of a single pipe in industrial dimensions

    Aim

    Synthesis gas tests under practical conditions

    • Long-term tests with simulated and real metallurgical gases
    • Verification of laboratory results on a technical scale
    • Transfer of the results to industrial plants
       

    Application

    • Production of methanol from blast furnace gas or CO2
    • Testing of predictive control strategies in dynamic operation
       

    Technical specification

    • Reactor with boiling water cooling
      • Length: 6.0 m
      • Inner diameter: 34.3 mm
    • Up to 89 bar and 270 °C
    • 2-stage makeup gas compressor up to 6 Nm3 /h
    • 1-stage feed gas compressor up to 40 Nm3 /h
    • Condensation of liquid products with sampling
    • Principal component analysis in recycle gas online
    • Measurement of the temperature profile on the reactor axis with 36 measuring points
    • Remote transmission of all measurement data