(439h) Autothermal (CO2 and O2) Di-Reforming of Methane with the Ni-UGSO Catalyst: Lab-Scale Results and Kg-Lab Scale Tests at Industrial H2 Production Conditions

Abatzoglou, N., University of Sherbrooke
Chamoumi, M., University of Sherbrooke
Dega, F., University of Sherbrooke
This work belongs to a larger endeavor aimed at studying the performance and the stability of a patent pending hydrocarbons reforming spinellized nickel catalyst prepared from an ilmenite metallurgical residue. Said residue is a negative value upgraded slag oxide (UGSO) coming from a TiO2 slag production unit, operated by Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium, Quebec, Canada. Recently published results from experiments carried out with this catalyst exhibited high hydrogen production selectivity during methane steam, dry (CO2) and autothermal (CO2 and O2) reforming and stability over time-on-stream (TOS).

At the lab-sale barometric conditions the best results are registered at T=850°C, molar ratios of CH4/O2=2 and CH4/CO2=3 and space velocity of GHSV=4500+/-100mlSTP/(h.gcat). In these conditions, the catalyst remained stable without any deactivation and nil carbon formation during the entire 2 days of operation. The CH4 conversion (98%) and the H2 and CO yields (respectively 98.8% and 95.5% were equally stable and near-thermodynamic equilibrium. The steady state operation is characterized by the coexistence of multiple phases in the catalyst structure, including metallic, oxides and spinels.

Based on these results, a new project is funded by the Quebec and Canada Governments as well as our industrial partner (Rio Tinto Iron and Titane). Said project focuses on scaling up the process by a factor of 1000 (from g-lab to kg-lab scale); it aims at proving that both the catalyst (Ni-UGSO) and the autothermal direforming process can compete with the prevailing catalysts and processes for the production of H2 from natural gas steam reforming. The main challenges are to prove that:

  • this much cheaper catalytic formulation has at least the same efficiency, robustness and life cycle characteristics with the best commercially available catalysts;
  • the autothermal direforming proposed is at least equally effective as the presently only commercially available process for H2 production, that is ‘steam reforming’.

In this publication, we will present (a) the lab-scale results and the mechanistic explanation of the catalyst efficiency and robustness; (b) the scale-up calculations and criteria used; (c) the kg-lab set-up and operation protocol and (d) the first results at kg-lab scale towards answering the above challenges.