(182d) Methanol Production By CO2 Hydrogenation in Hybrid Membrane-Nanoparticle Reactors | AIChE

(182d) Methanol Production By CO2 Hydrogenation in Hybrid Membrane-Nanoparticle Reactors


Goudeli, E. - Presenter, University of Melbourne
Pham, Q. H., The University of Melbourne
Methanol presents a range of advantages as a potential future fuel due to its high energy density compared to that of natural gas and hydrogen. In addition, it is a crucial precursor for the production of plastics, fuel additives and adhesives in a range of industries. However, traditional methods of methanol synthesis by natural gas have a significant greenhouse gas footprint as they involve CO2 release as a byproduct. An alternative approach to methanol production by natural gas, is CO2 hydrogenation, which is key in mitigating CO2 emissions. However, several challenges associated with this approach include low reactivity of CO2 and high selectivity to methanol. So, research interest has focused on the development of new catalysts, such as Cu/ZrO2 (Kattel et al., 2016), Cu/ZnO/ZrO2 (Witoon et al., 2018), and Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 (Tada et al., 2017), that are both active to CO2 hydrogenation and selective to methanol.

Here, nanoparticle-membrane nanocomposites are manufactured via direct one-step deposition. CuO/ZrO2 nanoparticles are produced by flame spray pyrolysis (FSP) at various precursor solution-to-oxygen (P/O) flow rate ratios and are deposited on polymeric membranes that are highly selective to methanol (Figure 1a). Figure 1 shows scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of flame-made CuO/ZrO2 catalyst produced at a P/O of (b) 10 mL/min precursor solution to 8 L/min oxygen (10/8, hot flame) and (c) 2/8 (cold flame), deposited on Matrimid®5218 membranes for 2.5 and 9 min, respectively. Increasing the precursor flow rate, leads to higher temperature and longer high-temperature particle residence time, which in turn results in larger CuO and ZrO2 crystal size and smaller specific surface area. The catalyst is reduced by H2 at 300 °C for the formation of Cu/ZrO2 nanocatalysts.

The effect of nanoparticle and film characteristics (crystallinity, crystal size, porosity) on the CO2 conversion and methanol production rate is quantified. FSP conditions leading to nanocatalysts with highly activity to CO2 hydrogenation are identified, while the selectivity to methanol, which is enhanced by the presence of polyimide membranes, is also evaluated. Such hybrid membrane-catalytic nanoparticle reactors are a promising technology which enables industries to convert their carbon dioxide wastes into valuable energy products, such as methanol.

Funded by Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre grant (RP1.3-04) and the University of Melbourne, Australia.

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