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Comment Processing & Handling

This reactor will produce methanol directly from methane

By Gerald Parkinson |

Under an ARPA contract Gas Technology Institute (GTI, Des Plaines, Ill.; www.gastechnology.org) is developing a process to convert natural gas directly into methanol and hydrogen. The process is much simpler and more efficient than the conventional high-temperature and capital-intensive steam-reforming process, says Chinbay Fan, GTI’s R&D director. The reaction is carried out at room temperature and pressure, using inorganic metal oxide cation intermediates as oxidation catalysts. Fan notes that the process is electrochemically charged to ensure continuous regeneration of the catalyst and to achieve high conversion efficiency and selectivity. In preliminary laboratory tests the process has achieved conversion of only a little more than 50%. However, Fan expects this will be improved to more than 90% before GTI delivers a 1-gal/day reactor to DOE in six months’ time.
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