One of the main focus of the project research activities concerns methanol synthesis from the gas produced by glycerol reforming in supercritical water. The activities are two sided and include on the one hand the development of a reactor model to describe methanol synthesis and on the other hand measurement of the intrinsic methanol kinetics. A reactor model is under construction for methanol synthesis in a fixed bed reactor and includes calculations at catalyst particle level. A first version of the model has been finished and is functioning appropriately. The model, however, requires experimental input (kinetics) before its accuracy can be determined.
An experimental set-up has been constructed to measure the intrinsic kinetics of methanol synthesis (see opposite picture). The core of the set-up is a stirred basket reactor. This reactor includes a basket attached to a stirrer containing catalyst. The basket spins fiercely to reduce/prevent mass- and heat transfer limitations. The set-up includes a gas mixing station, which can be used to prepare model gas mixtures from pure gases for methanol synthesis.
A major advantage of the gas mixing station is that the whole range of possible gas compositions obtained in glycerol reforming can be covered experimentally. Some preliminary methanol synthesis experiments were performed to ascertain the functionality of the set-up. In all experiments methanol was synthesized and the methanol quality was good. The experiments to measure the kinetics will start in the near future. Part of the catalysts that will be used in these kinetic experiments were developed by the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis (BIC).