The overarching goal of this project is to develop a significantly process-intensified technology for methane dehydrogenation to aromatic (i.e., benzene) (MDA) in highly compacted microchannel protonic ceramic membrane reactors (HCM-PCMRs) by integrating multiple functions of single-atom catalysis, electrocatalysis, membrane catalysis, membrane separation, and advanced manufacturing.
Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN 37830
The current technologies for natural gas to liquid (GTL) are facing significant challenges: 1) the deployment and intermittent operation at isolated sites often lack convenient access to electricity, make-up water, and other required services; and 2) the GTL technologies (e.g., indirect catalytic conversion of methane to liquid chemicals via synthesis gas) are confirmed to be complicated, inefficient, and environment unfriendly (enormous CO2 emission), requiring large economies of scale to compete in existing commodity markets, and relying on extensive supporting infrastructure to be available. This three-year project will be conducted by a multidisciplinary team consisting of researchers from Clemson University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to develop a significantly process-intensified technology for methane dehydrogenation to aromatic in highly compacted microchannel protonic ceramic membrane reactors.
The major benefits of the proposed technology, as compared with state-of-art industrial GTL technology, are: 1) highly intensified process: highly compacted catalytic membrane reactors; 2) long term stability: less coke problem because of single-atom catalyst and small amount oxygen ion; 3) high benzene yield at a lower temperature: single-atom catalyst, membrane separation, and membrane catalysis; 4) high volumetric performance: microchannel design; 5) isolated operation: co-production of electricity or hydrogen; 6) flexible and cost-effective manufacturing: integrated additive manufacturing and laser process.
Current plans for this project include, 1) testing long-term fuel cell operation for PCMR, 2) infiltrate MDA catalyst to PCMR and test MDA in PCMR, 3) continue to improve MDA catalysts, 4) work on microchannel reaction manufacturing and 5) work on manuscripts.