Mini-plant for OCM process

To carry out investigations on up-scaling of oxidative methane-coupling, a mini-plant facility was built. The plant acts as a bridge between chemical experiments conducted in the laboratory and the reactors like those used in industry.

Absorption coumn of mini-plant for OCM

Mini-plant ready for up-scaling of new OCM catalysts

While a new OCM catalyst is developed by the UniCat team on the basis of fundamental research with model catalysts like metal oxide clusters (H. Schwarz: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011), thin films and nanoparticles (T. Risse, K.-P. Dinse, R Schloegl, R. Horn et al.: ChemCatChem 2011) the simulation tools and experimental equipment for the up-scaling of the catalyst preparation and applications are developed and installed. 

With a careful statistical analysis of all catalysts described in 2700 publications and 140 patents(Schlögl et al.: ChemCatChem 2011) two catalysts were selected for testing and validating the up-scaling tools.

While Li/MgO failed the stability tests on laboratory scale the synthesized Na2WO4/Mn/SiO2 catalysts confirmed the literature data. Fluidized bed technology allowed an up-scaling of the catalyst synthesis to kg scale accompanied with improvements with respect to its catalytic performance in a lab reactor and also its fluidization behaviour (R. Schomäcker, H. Schubert et al.: Chem. Eng. J. 2011).

For studying this and future catalysts a miniplant was designed on the basis of detailed simulation studies for different reactors (G. Wozny et al.: Chem. Eng. Sci. 2011) and product separation concepts. (R. Schomäcker, G. Wozny et al. Appl. Thermal Eng. 2011). With reactor feed strategies derived from kinetic studies and simulation a catalyst performance was achieved that well exceeded the published laboratory test data.


Important publications

Chemistry with Methane: Concepts Rather than Recipes H. Schwarz, Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2011, 50, 10096 - 10115, 10.1002/anie.201006424

Lithium as Modifier for Morphology and Defect Structure of Porous Magnesium Oxide Materials Prepared by Gel Combustion Synthesis U. Zavyalova, G. Weinberg, W. Frandsen, F. Girgsdies, T. Risse, K. P. Dinse, R. Schlögl, R. Horn ChemCatChem 2011, 3, 1179-1788, 10.1002/cctc.201100186.

Statistical Analysis of Past Catalytic Data on Oxidative Methane Coupling for New Insights into the Composition of High-Performance Catalysts Ulyana Zavyalova, Martin Holena, Robert Schlögl, Manfred Baerns ChemCatChem 2011, 3, 1935–1947, 10.1002/cctc.201100186

Fluidized bed processing of sodium tungsten manganese catalysts for the oxidative coupling of methane U. Simon, O. Görke, A. Berthold, S. Arndt, R. Schomäcker, H. Schubert Chemical Engineering Journal 2011, 168, 1352 - 1359, doi:10.1016/j.cej.2011.02.013  

Analysis of attainable reactor performance for the oxidative methane coupling process S. Jaso, H. R. Godini, H. Arellano-Garcia, G. Wozny Chemical Engineering Science 2010, 65, 6341 - 6352, 10.1016/j.ces.2010.08.019

On the design, development and operation of an energy efficient CO2 removal for the oxidative coupling of methane in a miniplant scale Steffen Stünkel, Daniel Illmer, Andreas Drescher, Reinhard Schomäcker, Günter Wozny Applied Thermal Engineering 2011, Published online October 25, 2011, doi: 10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2011.10.035

Movie on OCM


Watch on Youtube:
"Catalysts for Methane Conversion"


Control centre of mini-plant
Fluidised-bed reactor
Picture detail of mini-plant