(570a) Microwave Chemistry | AIChE

(570a) Microwave Chemistry


Shekhawat, D. - Presenter, US Dept of Energy
Abdelsayed, V., National Energy Technology Laboratory
Smith, M. W., National Energy Technology Laboratory
Wildfire, C., National Energy Technology Laboratory
The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is pioneering an effort to better understand and utilize the application of microwave (MW) fields to various chemical reactions and materials processes. The potential cost benefits and energy efficiency of MW-enhanced processes have yet to be fully explored and quantified. The benefits of MW application to reaction systems include rapid, selective heating of the catalyst surface and reacting species to promote conversion to desired products at significantly lower, bulk system temperatures. Although the benefits of microwaves are known, the nuances of how the material interacts with the EM field and the effect of variables such as frequency, power, and catalyst composition are not well understood. NETL has built a state-of-the-art REACT facility including MW characterization equipment and two microwave reactors, a 2 kW fixed frequency, fixed-bed flow reactor; and, a one-of-a-kind 500 W variable frequency reactor in order to expand the fundamental knowledge microwave based reactions. Chemical reaction research being conducted includes Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis, methane dehydroaromatization, and coal pyrolysis. Catalyst development includes particle size, shape, and composition and characterizing the dielectric properties in order to enhance the interaction with the microwave field. This information, along with the MW field modeling in COMSOL that NETL is conducting will be used to design novel microwave-active catalyst materials and systems.