Renewable Energy Biomass Fuels

Mixed Alcohol Synthesis Catalyst Screening 2007 Progress Report

Authors: Gerber, Mark A. White, J. F. Gray, Michel J. Stevens, Don J.
 
Abstract: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are researching the feasibility of producing mixed alcohols from biomass-derived synthesis gas (syngas). PNNL is obtaining commercially available mixed alcohol or preparing promising mixed-alcohol catalysts and screening them in a laboratory-scale reactor system. The most promising catalysts are provided to NREL for testing using a slipstream from a pilot-scale biomass gasifier. After a review of the literature in 2006 and conversations with companies that produce catalysts, it was determined that no commercial mixed-alcohol synthesis catalysts were available. One manufacturer supplied a modified methanol catalyst that was tested in the PNNL laboratory-scale system and provided to NREL for further testing. PNNL also prepared and tested the behavior of 10 other catalysts representing the distinct catalyst classes for mixed alcohol syntheses. Based on those results,testing in 2007 focused on the performance of the rhodium-based catalysts. The effects of adding promoters to the rhodium catalysts in addition to the manganese already being used were examined. The iron and rhenium promoters both stood out as achieving higher carbon selectivities , followed by Cu. Iridium and Li, on the other hand, had low carbon selectivity ratios of 0.27 and 0.22, respectively. Although testing of candidate promoters is not complete, it appears that Ir and Li promoters warrant further optimization and possibly combination to further improve STYs and carbon selectivities to C2+ oxygenates. However, using these promoters, it will be necessary to incorporate a separate hydrogenation catalyst to improve the yield of C2+ alcohols with respect to the other oxygenates. Fe, Re, and Cu stand out as possible candidates in this respect, but additional research is needed to examine whether they can be combined with the other promoters on the Rh-based catalyst or need to be optimized on a separate catalyst support that is either physically mixed or used in series with the promoted Rh-based catalyst.
Publication Date: 01 Nov 2007
Report numbers: PNNL-17074
DOE Contract number: AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type: Technical Report
Research Organizations: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Organizations: USDOE
Country of Publication: United States
Language: English
Keywords relating to this report:
ALCOHOLS
BIOMASS
CARBON
CATALYST SUPPORTS
CATALYSTS
HYDROGENATION
IRIDIUM
IRON
MANGANESE
MANUFACTURERS
METHANOL
OPTIMIZATION
PROGRESS REPORT
PROMOTERS
RHENIUM
RHODIUM
SYNTHESIS
SYNTHESIS GAS
TESTING

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