A Novel Single-Step Dimethyl Ether (DME) Synthesis in a Three-Phase Slurry Reactor from Co-Rich Syngas


The productivity of liquid phase methanol synthesis reactor in limited by the chemical equilibrium barrier caused by high local methanol concentration in the liquid phase. This barrier can be partly lifted by either selective physical remoal of methanol from the liquid phase or in-situ conversion to other chemical species. A novel process for manufacturing dimethyl ether (DME) from CO-rich syngas in the liquid phase has been developed. Two functionally different catalysts are slurried in the inert liquid phase, in this dual catalytic mode of operation. The (methanol+DME) co-production approach is extremely effective in increasing the per-pass syngas conversion and reactor productivity over those of methanol synthesis alone. The co-production approach can also co-produce methanol and DME in any fixed proportion, from practically pure DME to pure methanol. Scientific aspects of the process including the process feasibility domain, reaction kinetics, catalytic management, and thermodynamic modeling will be discussed.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Methanol; DME; Dual Catalysts; Synthetic Fuels; Mechanically Agitated Slurry Reactor; Bubble Column Slurry Reactor

Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 1992 Elsevier, All rights reserved.