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Optimum Catalyst Size Selection for Slurry Bubble Column Reactors

National Energy Technology Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

The Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is seeking licensing partners interested in implementing United States Patent Number 7,619,011 titled "Design of Slurry Bubble Column Reactors: Novel Technique for Optimum Catalyst Size Selection."

Disclosed in this patent is a method to determine the optimum catalyst particle size for application in a fluidized bed reactor, such as a slurry bubble column reactor (SBCR), to convert synthesis gas into liquid fuels. The reactor can be gas-solid, liquid-solid, or gas-liquid-solid. The method considers the complete granular temperature balance based on the kinetic theory of granular flow, as well as the effect of a volumetric mass transfer coefficient between the liquid and the gas. After the method computes the granular temperature of the catalyst particles, the volumetric mass transfer coefficient between the gas and liquid phases is calculated using that temperature. The method then can determine the optimum catalyst particle size to maximize the production of fuels in fluidized bed reactors such as SBCRs.

Description

The energy industry is gearing up to make catalysts for slurry bubble column reactors. The urgent question remains: what size of catalyst should industry make? This patent application answers the question using multiphase Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) computations. The algorithm has been successfully applied to determine the optimum Fischer-Tropsch catalysts’ average size of 60-70 microns for methanol production from synthesis gas in a slurry bubble column reactor. The technique can be applied to gas-solid and liquid-solid fluidized bed reactors.

The average size of the catalyst used in multiphase reactors such as SBCRs is vitally important on reactor performance. Previous modeling studies have not addressed the effect of catalyst size on reactor performance. Large particles lead to poor mass transfer and hence poor reactor performance. Small particle sizes are needed to have effective reactions, but those same small particles can become entrained in the product gas stream and can thereby cause liquid product filtration problems. Small particles can also cause formation of clusters, which result in larger particle size and poor mass transfer. The invention offered in this patent addresses optimum particle size. Optimum particle size provides maximum granular temperature, ultimately resulting in heat and mass transfer coefficients with the highest values.

Benefits

This invention offers the following advantages: 

  • It addresses catalyst size as an important factor related to reactor performance
  • Other modeling studies have not addressed the effect of catalyst size
  • The timing of this method is favorable in that industry is gearing up to make catalysts for slurry bubble column reactors and other multiphase fluidized bed reactors
  • The method has indentified a range of optimum catalyst sizes
  • By applying this method, problems related to filtration and particle entrainment can be alleviated
  • The end result is more efficient operation of multiphase fluidized reactors such as SBCRs
More Information

U.S. Patent No. 7,619,011, issued November 17, 2009, titled "Design of Slurry Bubble Column Reactors: Novel Technique for Optimum Catalyst Size Selection"

Inventors: Issac Gamwo, Dimitri Gidaspow, and Jonghwun Jung

Technology Status
Development StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
PrototypeAvailable05/18/201705/18/2017

Contact NETL About This Technology

To: Jessica Sosenko<jessica.sosenko@netl.doe.gov>