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University of Southampton
University of Southampton:
Professor Robert Raja
Dr Stylianos Kyrimis
This interdisciplinary study will combine experimental and computational scale-up study to conduct a performance optimisation and scale-up feasibility study for waste-to-methanol and waste-to-sustainable aviation fuel for the hard-to-decarbonise transportation sector.
BACKGROUND: The IEA recognises that CO2-derived products will play a global role in reducing CO2 emissions, but only if their demand exceeds 10 MtCO2/year. CO2-based fuels can drastically increase the demand and consumption of captured CO2 by up to 2050 Mt/year as a sustainable energy vector. Methanol synthesis via CO2 hydrogenation is less exothermic; utilises simpler and more efficient reactors and heat exchangers; lowering operational costs. However, the water products and accompanying water-gas-shift, expedites catalyst deactivation. This process can be industrially competitive if optimal operating conditions are identified, including exploring the influence of catalyst morphology and physicochemical properties for greater activity and methanol selectivity. Kinetic models already exist for the industrial Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst yet there is a need to optimise performance for varying operating conditions, CO2 feedstock and process integration.
INNOVATIVE ASPECTS: Long-term research needs to address its feasibility at different scales, sectors and applications, types and proportion of fuel blends; optimisation of the catalyst, reactor and system; etc. Immediate research project will upgrade a recently developed state-of-the-art multiphase scale-up tool to incorporate more detailed intra- and inter-catalytic behaviour under varying operational conditions and varying waste feedstock compositions for the synthesis of a particular fuel, e.g., methanol and potentially for SAF.
Fig 1: High resolution 3D ethanol conversion for DEM model vs SR model vs standard porosity models. DEM scaled exponentially with particle size, the SR and porosity models scaled linearly.