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Syngases for the chemical industry

Syngases (synthesis gases) are produced and used in many areas of industry, for example in steel and chemical production. CO-rich syngas provides an important raw material for many chemical products, such as fuels and plastics. Linde AG is testing a new dry reforming process in a new pilot plant at its site in Pullach. For this purpose, the scientists have decisively changed the standard steam reforming method. In addition to methane and some water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2) is also fed into a tubular reactor at high pressure. At temperatures between 800 and 1,000 degrees, the CO2 reacts with the methane to form hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This process is more energy efficient than the standard version: firstly, the dry reforming technique requires much less water vapour to prevent catalyst coking; secondly, the syngas is produced under high pressure, which eliminates the need for prior gas expansion and, following the reaction, further compression. A further advantage is the use of large amounts of CO2. This is produced as a waste product in many industrial processes and can be usefully deployed instead of being discharged into the environment.

The high proportion of CO enables the gas to be directly used for many synthetic processes without hydrogen having to be separated beforehand. It therefore rivals the partial oxidation process, which also achieves high carbon monoxide fractions due to the reaction of methane with oxygen. However, the pure oxygen that is required with this variant has to be produced with considerable energy costs. Moreover, the dry reforming process in particular provides relevant cost advantages over partial oxidation when used in small and medium-sized plants.

Projektinfo 05/2016:
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Project management, system development
ecoloop GmbH

Development of the simulation model
TU Clausthal, IEVB

Project partner
Fels-Werke GmbH

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