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Making syngas from coal in one step

By Paul Grad |

A combined coal-gasification and methane-reforming process using coal char as catalyst has been developed by a team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences [Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy & Bioprocess Technology (english.qibebt.cas.cn), and the Institute of Coal Chemistry (english.sxicc.cas.cn)] and from the Center for Energy, University of Western Australia (UWA; Perth; www.uwa.edu.au). Team leader professor Dongke Zhang, of UWA, says conventional steam-methane reforming entails some drawbacks, such as production of a high H2-to-CO ratio in synthesis gas (syngas). In the CO2 catalytic reforming of methane, the deactivation of the catalyst due to carbon deposition is a serious problem, he says. The new process has the advantages that the H2-to-CO ratio in the syngas is adjustable, there is no need for an expensive metal catalyst or tubular reactors, and the process has a high energy efficiency compared with conventional steam reforming. Various aspects of the new process have been studied in the laboratory, including CH4 cracking over coal char, CO2 and steam reforming of CH4 over coal char, and the effect of chars made from different types of parent coals, including lignite, a bituminous coal, and anthracite. Coal chars were prepared…
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