Publication: Methanol Synthesis in a Fixed Bed Recycle-reactor System

Methanol Synthesis in a Fixed Bed Recycle-reactor System: Effect of once-Through and Recycle Operation on Activity and Productivity

Authors: P. Kolb, T. Kaltschmitt

DGMK Conference Paper

Methanol is one of the largest scale chemicals and produced on a multi-million-ton scale per year worldwide. Among all organic chemicals, Methanol is the third-largest-scale pure component in production, only being surpassed by ethylene and propylene. Methanol is used for a large number of purposes. It can be used as fuel ingredient, either in pure form or as MTBE, as starting material for the generation of hydrocarbons (MTO and MTG processes), as solvent, as well as precursor for formaldehyde, acetic acid, and dimethyl ether. The production of MeOH from synthesis gas is thus an extremely important chemical process. In this contribution, selected results of different MeOH synthesis projects are presented. The target reaction was investigated both in a parallel fixed bed rig using catalysts on a 1 ml scale and in a single-fold sub-pilot plant scale rig with 20 ml of catalyst. In the latter case, both once-through and recycle mode operation were performed. The major process variables were the reaction temperature, the concentration of CO2 in the feed gas, and the GHSV. The effect of these variables on feed gas conversion and catalyst productivity was studied. One highlight of the study was the generation of MeOH both with high productivity and high gas utilization by operating the sub-pilot rig in recycle mode.

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