TITLE: Methane to Methanol: Reactor Design and Process Evaluation.

AUTHOR: I. Tepermeister;   J. Smith.

INST.  AUTHOR: Massachusetts Inst. of Tech., Los Alamos, NM. School of Chemical Engineering Practice-Los Alamos Station.

SPONSOR: Department of Energy, Washington, DC.


PUB.  TYPE: Technical Report

PUB.  COUNTRY: United States

SOURCE: Department of Energy [DE],  Oct 88,  115p.



The design of a supersonic nozzle reactor for controlling the partial oxidation of methane to methanol and alternative condenser and gas separation systems were investigated. GENMIX, a simplified fluid dynamics code available at Los Alamos, was modified to simulate mixing and simultaneous chemical reaction in the reaction vessel. Preliminary studies indicate that complete mixing of reactants in a coaxial supersonic expansion nozzle is impossible in the time scale of reaction. A global kinetic model was regressed from computer simulations of the complete reaction mechanism. The global model is felt to be sufficient for preliminary nozzle simulations in a temperature range of 800-1000 K, initial pressure of 60 atm, and initial oxygen concentrations of approximately 33 mol%. Attempts to incorporate global kinetics into the fluid dynamics code were not successful because of code limitations. Two condenser system configurations for the removal of methanol from the process stream were evaluated by simulation with ASPEN PLUS. A two-step series condensation is less energy intensive and has a lower equipment cost than a system consisting of a condenser and distillation column. However, the condenser and distillation system have a higher methanol recovery and product purity. Investigation of possible methods for the separation of methane and carbon monoxide from the process stream revealed that membrane techniques, pressure swing adsorption, and adsorption into propane are feasible alternatives. 27 refs. (ERA citation 14:004251)