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Low-Temperature Chemical Looping Reforming Catalysts for Small-Footprint GTL
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The goal of this project is to make modular scale reforming for natural gas-to-liquids (GTL) commercially viable using a chemical looping reforming (CLR) redox catalyst for low temperature conversion of natural gas to Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) ready syngas.


Catalytic and Redox Solutions, LLC, Cary, NC 27519


Methane from U.S. shale deposits has significantly increased the usable volume of this domestic energy resource. Meanwhile, recent flaring of natural gas exceeded 6 billion cubic meters (annually) in the United States leading to waste of a valuable energy resource. As such, small-footprint technologies that can effectively convert inexpensive, stranded natural gas into transportation fuels are of great value to U.S. shale-oil producers operating in geographically isolated fields. Unfortunately, the only demonstrated commercial technologies for converting GTL are indirect routes utilizing complex, high temperate methane reforming systems that are difficult to economically implement at small scale. This project aims to make modular scale reforming for GTL commercially viable using a chemical looping reforming (CLR) redox catalyst for low temperature conversion of natural gas to Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) ready syngas.


This novel technology developed by Dr. Fanxing Li at NC State University, and licensed by Catalytic and Redox Solutions LLC, will enable distributed, modular scale GTL systems with significantly smaller footprint, increased efficiency, and reduced cost. Phase I will focus on testing and optimizing the system for high conversion/selectivity of methane to syngas. Fixed-bed experiments using an automated gas-switching and product analysis system will be used to monitor conversion and selectivity of the redox catalysts with focus on maximizing single-pass syngas yield. If successful, this will spur Phase II and follow up activities.

If successful, this project will demonstrate the viability of CLR in a pallet sized system. This will help commercialize a breakthrough technology that can effectively convert rejected C1/C2 to create significant value ($5 billion/year in liquid fuels) and to reduce emissions (compared to flaring).

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
  • Reactor sizing was completed for the testbed reactor.
  • Preliminary design specifications for the testbed reactor were developed and provided to potential vendors.
  • A potential vendor proposal in line with the budget and timeline of the project has been identified. 
  • Additional splitting catalyst were tested.  A cheaper analog was developed and chosen for 250 hr. testing. 
  • A model basis for the evaluation of ideal reactor performance and identification of redox catalyst properties has been developed.
  • Notable data include 95% super-equilibrium syngas yield at 650 C for 24 hours in a larger pack bed reactor, 1” O.D., well exceeding the Q2 milestone target of 75% yield.
  • CRS’s baseline costing model has been communicated to Susteon and is in review for refinement of costing parameters.
  • Successful assembly, commissioning, loading, and operating of the 1000 SCF testbed reactor of NC State University.
  • Completion of parametric studies with the 1000 SCF testbed on the Chemical Looping Reforming, confirming "super equilibrium" yields under some operating conditions.
  • Additional updating of the reactor modeling and TEA.
Current Status

CRS personnel have completed drawing flow and instrumentation diagrams of the proposed testbed reactor for development of vendor specifications. To generate significant industrial interest in the technology, it is necessary to demonstrate catalyst performance over 1,000 hr. This in an industrial standard for commercial catalyst evaluation. It is also anticipated that a testbed with sufficient scale to permit extrapolation of commercial scale operation will be necessary to attract industrial funding for stage two. Work was completed to plan construction and demonstration of a testbed capable of converting 1,000 CF/day natural gas. This project ended on 2/22/2023.

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Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution


Contact Information

NETL — Anthony Zammerilli (  or 304-285-4641)
North Carolina State University — Dr. Fanxing Li ( or 919-515-7328)