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New catalyst technology for methanol synthesis boosts production and extends lifetimes

By Scott Jenkins |

Newly launched catalyst technology, developed through a collaboration between Clariant (Muttenz, Switzerland; www.clariant.com) and Air Liquide Engineering & Construction (Frankfurt am Main, Germany; www.engineering-airliquide.com) and designed for methanol (MeOH) production, is capable of boosting cumulative MeOH yields by up to 15% and extending catalyst lifetimes by up to two years. Officially launched in October, the technology is known as MegaZonE, a play on the name of the Clariant catalyst material on which it based — MegaMax, a series of copper-oxide/zinc-oxide/alumina catalysts used for synthesizing MeOH from synthesis gas (CO and H2). Methanol synthesis typically occurs within a fixed-bed reactor, and MegaZonE uses several layers of catalyst material within the reactor that have differing activity levels. Because each catalyst layer is tailored to the specific reaction conditions along the reaction pathway, the layers optimize heat management and catalyst performance. As Clariant explains, catalysts with moderate activity are loaded in hotter zones of the converter to prevent hotspots, while activity-enhanced catalysts are placed further down the reaction pathway to intensify reaction rates in the lower portion of…
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