An article in the Science magazine describes a new and compact approach to producing syngas. The technology from Haldor Topsoe is based on steam methane reforming and could have a significant positive effect on CO2 emissions globally.
Lyngby/Denmark — Researchers from Haldor Topsoe, the Technical University of Denmark, the Danish Technological Institute, and Sintex have been part of the development of a novel syngas reactor. The reactor not only produces synthesis gas for the production of polymers and chemicals, but could also contribute to reducing global CO2 emissions.
The research team has used computer simulations and lab testing to show that direct electric heating in combination with an innovative thin catalytic coating boosts both energy efficiency and catalytic efficiency. The improved efficiency saves CO2 in itself, but the real gain comes from replacing natural gas with electricity for heating the process to the 900°C necessary. The full potential is achieved when using green electricity from wind turbines or solar panels.
Another benefit of the new technology is that it can reduce the size of the syngas reactor from a 30-meter-long six story building to a unit 100 times smaller. Together with the outstanding energy efficiency and low CO2 emission, this makes the technology extremely commercially attractive when fully developed. Peter Mølgaard Mortensen, Principal Scientist, Haldor Topsoe, sees the electrified reactor as the next logical step for the chemical industry. With this approach, producers would get a viable way to transform the industry going towards greener processes without increasing production cost.