- Methanation test rig
- Reforming test rig
- rWGS test rig
- Midi column DN150
- Ion-exchanger testing facility
- Rotary Furnace
Methanation test rig
At the chair’s laboratory a 3-stage catalytic methanation test rig is operated. Three fixed-bed reactors (height: 40 cm; ID 8 cm) are connected in series and fed with bottled gases of CO, CO2, H2, CH4 and N2. In addition, steam can be added to the system on the input side. The maximum flow rate for the input gas stream is 50 NL/min up to a pressure rating of 20 bar. Depending on the project needs, synthetic gas mixtures with various gas compositions are injected into the reactor setup with an additional amount of hydrogen to either meet reaction stoichiometry or in excess of that in order to test the behaviour of the methane synthesis under various operating conditions. Furthermore, bottled real gases provided by industry partners can be used in order to test the upgrading potential of process gases through the methanation synthesis. The catalytic material used is either commercially available bulk catalyst or honeycomb catalysts wash-coated at the chair’s laboratory. Both catalysts have Nickel as the catalytically active material which allows the exothermic methanation reactions to take place. The test rig is used for the Power-to-Gas projects of the Research Group “Energy Process Engineering”.
Reforming test rig
In the reforming plant synthetic gas mixtures (CO2, CO, CH4, H2, H2O, N2, O2) are catalytically converted to synthesis gas which describes the desired product. Different reforming processes (steam reforming, dry reforming and partial oxidation of methane) are investigated individually and jointly in a fixed bed reactor equipped with an electrical heating divided into zones. The reforming reactor shows a utilizable diameter of 30 mm and a length of 350 mm. In addition, investigations of the reverse-water-gas-shift reaction can be carried out in the reforming set-up.
The emphasis of research activities is on the product gas composition (especially the achieved H2/CO ratio), finding optimal operation parameters for the individual and overall processes and lifetime tests of different catalysts.
The operating temperatures lie between 700-1200°C, the maximum operating pressure at 40 bar and the maximum flow rate for the input gas stream is 150 lSTP/min or 9 m3STP/h. The gas input happens from gas bottles while steam is produced via an evaporator. The process control system built up in Labview monitors the operating parameters and takes appropriate actions in case of failure.
rWGS test rig
The reverse water-gas shift (rWGS) reaction provides the possibility to catalytically convert the stable CO2 molecule to CO with the use of hydrogen. The combination of CO and H2, the so-called synthesis gas, is used as feed gas in various syntheses such as methanol or Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Ultimately, an extensive product range (methanol, (poly-) olefins, fuels, and more) can be produced from the synthesis products.
The rWGS reaction is being investigated in the technical laboratory. For this purpose, the existing reforming plant has been adapted in such a way that a quartz glass reactor is used instead of the stainless steel reactor in this experimental setup. The possible operating conditions of the reactor range from 350 to 1,000 °C and 1 to 7 bar(a). The heat input is carried out with a tube furnace from the company Carbolite, which allows for a constant temperature profile across the entire reactor. Ideally, multiple tests with different catalyst materials can be performed, as handling the reactor and changing the catalyst material is simple and straightforward. The reactor is suitable for gas flows up to 20 Nl/min. The existing equipment of the reforming plant is used for the feed gas (mixture of CO, CO2, CH4, H2, N2) and for analysis purposes.
Midi column DN150
The midi column consists of two transparent sections, each with a diameter of 150mm and a possible packing height of 1.4m. One column serves as measuring column and the other as saturator. Both columns are equipped with a pot liquid distributor and a gas distributor. The liquid connection is designed in a way that the measuring column can be used both in circuit and in "single-way" process. All dimensions of our Midi column are exactly 30% of our pilot plant with DN450 to simplify the transfer of measuring results. Hydraulic measurements (pressure loss, hold-up, stagnation and flood point) as well as mass transfer measurements with the same material systems as in the pilot plant are possible using this set-up.
The picture shows the research photobioreactor installed at our institute, which is used for the experimental production of microalgae. The artificially illuminated 135 liter volume reactor consists of interconnected, vertical glass tubes, which are about 3.5 m high and equipped with an airlift system for culture mixing. The system is currently implemented on a large scale by ecoduna AG in Bruck an der Leitha (Austria; www.ecoduna.com). With the help of the photobioreactor, we want to promote our research on the optimization of algae production systems. The aims are to increase the industrial suitability of the systems for large-scale algae production from flue gas CO2 and to reduce plant costs. Together with the existing experimental autoclave, we can investigate the entire production chain of microalgae, including the hydrothermal conversion of microalgal biomass into a drop-in feedstock for crude oil processing./p>
Ion-exchanger testing facility
The ion exchanger testing facility allows us to examine different materials for use in wastewater treatment. The system consists of three separate ion exchanger columns made of plexiglas (inner diameter 120 mm), which can each be filled with approx. 2 kg of ion exchange material. The ion exchanger bed is fixed between two glass filter plates with a liquid flow from bottom to top (maximum flow approx. 2.5 l min-1). Inlet and outlet are each equipped with a temperature sensor. Stirred vessels for loading (about 20 l) and regeneration fluids (about 35 l) are arranged below the columns. From the two vessels, the ion exchange columns are supplied with loading or regeneration solution via two peristaltic pumps. The modular design allows the simultaneous operation of a separate loading and regeneration cycle, with the three ion exchanger columns arranged in series, parallel or separately. The regeneration tank is gastight, heatable and equipped with pH-controlled chemical dosing. The plant is currently used for the investigation of the ion exchange behavior of natural zeolites.
The rotary furnace from company AHT consists of a 1 m heating zone with a diameter of 135 mm. It is therefore suitable for a drying, calcination, and combustion of bulk material with flow rates of 1 – 100 g/min (depending on the source material). Specific gas atmospheres can be adjusted specifically meeting the project’s needs. It is furthermore equipped with an online exhaust gas analytics.