Poly(oxymethylene) Dimethyl Ethers As Components of Tailored Diesel Fuel - Properties, Synthesis and Purification Concepts

Sustainable Engineering Forum
2011 AIChE Annual Meeting
AIChE Annual Meeting
October 18, 2011 - 8:00pm

Poly(oxymethylene) Dimethyl Ethers as components of tailored diesel fuel - properties, synthesis and purification concepts

Jakob Burger 1*, Markus Siegert 2, Eckhard Ströfer 2, Michael Nilles 2, Hans Hasse 1

1 Laboratory of Engineering Thermodynamics, University of Kaiserslautern, Germany;

2 BASF SE Company, Ludwigshafen, Germany
*Corresponding author: Jakob Burger, Laboratory of Engineering Thermodynamics, University of Kaiserslautern, Germany. Email: jakob.burger@mv.uni-kl.de

Keywords: Fuel additive, Soot reduction, Process development

Poly(oxymethylene) Dimethyl Ethers (POMDMEs), oligomers of the general structure CH3-O-(CH2-O)n-CH3, open a new route for tailoring diesel fuels. POMDMEs belong to the group of oxygenates which reduce soot formation in the combustion when added to diesel fuels. They can be produced on a large scale based on Methanol which can be produced from renewable resources. This contribution presents the process chain, possible synthesis routes and some fuel related properties of POMDMEs. Comparisons to other oxygenates, e.g. Dimethyl Ether, are given.

A particularly favourable route for the large scale production of POMDMEs in which they are formed from Methylal and Trioxane is proposed. The chemistry behind this route is given in detail. Measurements of the reaction kinetics and the reaction equilibrium were carried out in a batch reactor using acidic ion exchange resin as heterogeneous catalyst. The parameters of a pseudo-homogeneous model were fitted to the results of these experiments. The formation of side-products was studied experimentally and concepts to minimize them are discussed. Based on the reaction model a process concept was developed. It consists of a reactor and a downstream distillation sequence to yield pure POMDMEs of the most favourable chain length n=3-5.

The use of distillation technology allows an easy scale-up to huge single train plants which can potentially fulfil the need for millions of tonnes of the innovative oxygen carrier POMDME needed for the supply of clean diesel fuel in the future.

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