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CO2 Utilization in Reforming

See Report TofC here (as PDF)

You are not doubt aware that utilizing CO2 as a new carbon source in the production of chemicals, fuels, and materials (e.g., concrete) provides new opportunities but also major scientific and technical challenges due to the molecule’s thermodynamic stability. The increasing commitments, globally, to a sustainable Low Carbon Economy renders these conversion pathways timely and pertinent. In this context, CO2 conversion to syngas or methane, the topic of TCGR’s most recent Carbon Dioxide Capture and Conversion (CO2CC) Program techno-economic report, entitled “CO2 Utilization in Reforming,” enters the value chain of two critical C1 feedstocks, CO and CH4.

CO2 conversion to syngas, a gas mixture made up of CO and H2 in various ratios, is best achieved by the reaction with methane, so-called dry reforming. Exploring CO2 as an oxidant like steam and oxygen in reforming of methane opens the way to catalytic technologies for the production of syngas from two greenhouse gases.

The dry reforming process benefits from the introduction of co-oxidant including steam and/or oxygen into the feed by lowering the overall energy consumption, even reaching thermoneutral, which decreases substantially carbon deposits and succeeds in a H2:CO molar ratio close to 2 for downstream processing to methanol and Fischer-Tropsch products. The tri-reforming process which involves CO2, steam and oxygen as co-oxidants can be run with CO2-rich natural gas feed and flue gases from combustion processes. The technology looks promising for biogas monetization as its production deploys. The CO2 reforming concept has been gaining interest in industry in reaching the pilot, demonstration and production levels.

Fig. 1. Reaction pathways; including CO2 reforming, for methane conversion to syngas.

The scenarios for which dry reforming can be considered of utmost interest are where CO2-rich methane feedstocks are available. CO2 conversion to methane refers to the production of synthetic natural gas (SNG) for energy purposes. SNG can also be produced by the hydrogenation of CO. The enabling technologies aimed at producing SNG from CO2 are driven by the concept of Power-to-SNG.

The major players are located in Europe, mainly Germany, due to strong incentives for the deployment of wind and solar energy. The flagship project is the Audi e-Gas/PtG (Werlte, DE) in operation since 2013. It is the world’s largest Power-to-Gas (PtG) plant with a capacity of 6 MW to power cars with compressed methane. As of 2016, 12+ demonstration projects are on track but at a less advanced stage. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is also launching the first power-to-gas demonstration project in the US.

Fig. 2. Discharge time vs capacity of various storage materials (adapted from Specht et al., 2009).

The delivery of SNG to the market place may easily occur through the existing and expanding pipeline infrastructure as well as shipping liquified natural gas (LNG). The increasing worldwide consumption of energy coupled to stringent environmental guidelines, especially for CO2 emissions, bring methane to the forefront of the modern energy carriers (marine and automotive fuel).

The business of the large companies could become more diversified. As an example, Audi AG company which has a long-established experience in producing cars is now engaged as electricity and fuel producer. In addition, extending Power-to-SNG to Power-to-X (where X represents other products, including chemicals) is expected to boost the implementation of the technology.

No longer can companies afford to wait on the sidelines to see what others do and how they do it. Times are fast changing and to keep pace, or be ahead of the curve, investments must be secured to begin the processes needed to fuel the market, expand its size and grow it into the next decade.

Don’t be left behind! Align with leading industrial CO2CC Program member-companies like BASF, Dow, ExxonMobil, Reliance, Statoil and Total, among others, in the CO2 conversion space by joining the CO2CC Program today. This is the only way to get TCGR’s in-depth and unparalleled report, CO2 Utilization in Reforming.”

TCGR’s CO2CC Program is an industrial consortium dedicated to seeking, reporting and developing win-win economic solutions to CO2 capture and conversion focused on practical ways to generate both savings and lower costs to expand CO2 utilization options and enhance bottom line profitability! The program has been working hard since 2010 to identify solutions, with numerous resources already in place.

More information about this and other services of the CO2CC Program can be seen at http://www.catalystgrp.com/php/tcgr_co2cc.php. Call +1-215-628-4447 or e-mail Ted R. Heron at theron@catalystgrp.com, and we’ll be happy to discuss these and other interesting membership benefits.

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The Catalyst Group Resources (TCGR), a member of The Catalyst Group, is dedicated to monitoring and analyzing technical and commercial developments in catalysis as they apply to the global refining, petrochemical, fine/specialty chemical, pharmaceutical, polymer/elastomer and environmental industries.